Category Archives: Slade School of Fine Art

New exhibition: Black Bloomsbury

UCL Art Museum, 23 September – 13 December 2013

The Equiano Centre’s Caroline Bressey and Gemma Romain have co-curated the UCL Art Museum’s autumn exhibition Black Bloomsbury which runs until 13 December.  Based upon research carried out as part of the AHRC-funded project Drawing over the Colour Line: Geographies of art and cosmopolitan politics in London, 1919 – 1939, the exhibition explores and documents the black presence in Bloomsbury from 1918 to 1948, highlighting the geographies of the Black presence in Bloomsbury and interwar politics including anti-colonial and anti-racist activism. The exhibition presents a small number paintings, drawings, and archival documents from UCL highlighting how this Black presence was represented in the artworks of Slade students from the period.  It features the work of Slade students Ivy MacKusick, Ann Tooth, Leila Leigh, JHM Innes, Denis Curry and Ernest Pascoe, and also displays Winifred Knights’ 1920 oil painting Portrait of a Young Woman, one of the works featured in this summer’s Art Everywhere exhibition. The second strand of the exhibition is the documentation of the African and Asian Bloomsbury presence in connection with London’s artworld. Archival material is displayed from UCL Special Collections, the Slade Archives and UCL Record Office related to the presence of Indian Slade students during the 1920s and1930s, including Mukul Dey, Janardan Gondhalekar, Shiavax Chavda and Indumati Sathé and Egyptian and West African students including Amy Nimr, A.A. Yousef, and Ben Enwonwu.

Black Bloomsbury events

Alongside the exhibition we have a number of events including a walking tour of Black Bloomsbury on Saturday 26 October, 12 noon until 1.30pm, to be given by Kevin Guyan exploring topics including geographical settlement, student organisations such as the Indian Students Union, Black visitors to the British Museum’s Reading Room and the fight against the ‘colour bar’ in the area. To take part, meet at the UCL Art Museum.

Co-curator Dr Gemma Romain will also give a talk about women from Egypt and India who studied at the Slade during the interwar period. Join us at UCL Art Museum on the 26 November, 1 till 2pm.

Co-curator Dr.Caroline Bressey will give a talk about African American entertainer Florence Mills, focusing on her time in London in the 1920s. Join us at UCL Art Museum on the 3 December, 1 till 2pm.

Kevin Guyan, a PhD student in the Department of History, UCL will give a talk about the black presence in 1940s Soho and Bloomsbury, focusing on histories of cultural interaction in social spaces such as dancehalls. Join us at UCL Art Museum on the 15 November, 1 till 2pm.

We hope to be adding more events, so for more information about the exhibition or the related events, please contact Dr. Martine Rouleau, Learning and Access Officer, UCL Art Museum, +44 (0)20 7679 2540, m.rouleau@ucl.ac.uk or check back with us or the Equiano Centre website or follow us on twitter.

Family histories and interwar black history

As our recent blog post shows, our contact with Nyay Bhushan, the great grandson of Vasu Deva Sharma, has been a fantastic opportunity for us to find out about Sharma’s migratory history and learn more about Sharma’s experiences of life as a Royal College of Art student in interwar London. We’ve created a select list of students and artist’s models all based in London during the period we are researching. If you have any information, no matter how small, about any of these individuals or the artworks they created please feel free to contact us at equianocentre@ucl.ac.uk

Students from Africa and Asia at London-based art schools:

  • Egyptian student Aimee Nimr at Slade School of Fine Art School of Fine Art during 1919
  • Nigerian student Aina Onabolu at St. John’s Wood Art School during 1922
  • Indian student Meher Bomansha Dalal at the Slade School of Fine Art School of Fine Art during 1923
  • Egyptian student A. Hafez at Royal College of Art during 1923
  • Egyptian student H.Z. Kassem at Royal College of Art during 1923
  • Indian student U.S. Choudhry at Royal College of Art during 1923
  • Indian student Vasu D. Sharma at Royal College of Art during 1923
  • Indian student Mukul Dey at Royal College of Art during 1923
  • Indian student Atul Chandra Bose at the Royal Academy during 1924-1926
  • Egyptian student A. A. Yousef at Slade School of Fine Art during 1928 then Royal College of Art during 1933
  • Indian student S.D. Chavda at Slade School of Fine Art in 1936-1937
  • Indian student  V.S. Adurkar at Slade School of Fine Art in 1936-37
  • Indian student G.B Bandivdekhar at Slade School of Fine Art during 1937-38
  • Indian student J.D Gondhalekar at Slade School of Fine Art during 1937-8
  • Indian student Indumati Sathé at Slade School of Fine Art during 1937-39
  • Indian student M.S. Satwalekar at Slade School of Fine Art during 1938-39
  • Egyptian student Bothina El Nahry, student at Hornsey Art School and then Slade School of Fine Art during 1939

Students who painted, sculpted or drew portraits of African and Asian individuals during their studies:

  • Ivy Mackusick – studied at the Slade School of Fine Art during 1919
  • William Ian Brinkworth – studied at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1933 until 1936.
  • Leila Ethel Dean Leigh –  studied at the Slade School of Fine Art between 1932 and 1938
  • Ann Margaret Tooth – studied at the Slade School of Fine Art during the 1930s
  • John Innes – studied at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1936 to 1939

Artist’s models of African, Caribbean and Asian heritage

  • Rebecca and Esther (no current information on second name) –  sisters who were of Black and Jewish mixed heritage who sat for artist Jacob Epstein
  • Amina Peerbhoy (Sunita) and Miriam Patel (Anita) –  sisters from India who sat for artist Jacob Epstein
  • Ladipo  (no current information on second name) –  West African artist’s model and boyfriend of artist Donald Friend during the 1930s
  • Patrick Nelson – Jamaican man living in London during the late 1930s – friend, boyfriend for a short time, and artist’s model for Duncan Grant
  • Harry Quashi – actor living in Britain during the 1930s, artist’s model

New film: Drawing over the Colour Line’s Lunch Hour Lecture

Caroline Bressey’s 11 October lunch hour lecture on the Drawing over the Colour Line project has now been uploaded onto UCL’s lunch hour lecture page on youtube. Follow this link or watch below

New film: London art in the Jazz Age 1919-1939

Visit UCL’s  youtube channel to watch our new short film discussing the project. The film focuses on art and the Black presence in Bloomsbury and highlights some of the artwork created by Slade School of Fine Art students during the interwar period.