Category Archives: Talks

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, or check back with us or the Equiano Centre website or follow us on twitter.


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

Podcast of ‘The Lone Protestor: Fiona Paisley in conversation with Bernardine Evaristo’

Bernadine Evaristo and Fiona Paisley at the Bishopsgate Institute Library, 14 June 2012

We co-ran an event on Thursday 14th June at the wonderful Bishopsgate Institute Library entitled The Lone Protestor. Fiona Paisley, in conversation with writer Bernadine Evaristo, discussed her new book on the life of Australian Aboriginal activist A.M. Fernando. The discussion touched upon a range of issues and histories relating to Australian Aboriginal history, British imperialism, and the way in which activists such as Fernando opposed British imperialism whilst living in the metropole. Fernando was based in Europe during the inter-war period and lived and worked in London, thus his life story is particularly important for our Drawing over the Colour Line project. Although there is no known artwork representing Fernando, we will be making sure to look out for photographs, drawings or paintings of him during our archival research. In the audience of The Lone Protestor event were members of two families who had employed Fernando during his time in London, including one person who when he was a child knew Fernando. To listen to the podcast of the event, please visit the link here on the UCL Soundcloud page or listen to the embedded podcast on the Equiano Centre website here

Book launch: The Lone Protestor – Fiona Paisley in conversation with Bernardine Evaristo

Fiona Paisley and Bernardine Evaristo discuss Fiona’s new work on the life of Anthony Martin Fernando, an Australian Aboriginal who protested against British imperial rule while he lived and worked in London and Europe during the 1920s and 1930s.

Co-hosted by Aboriginal Studies Press, the Equiano Centre UCL & the Raphael Samuel History Centre, The Lone Protestor takes place at the Bishopsgate Institute Library on Thursday, June 14, 2012 from 6pm to 8.30pm.

This event is free although registration is required for catering numbers. For registration follow this link

For more information, please see the pdf flyer here

Event: The Image of the Black in Western Art

Harvard University Press and the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute’s ‘Image of the Black in Western Art’ publication project  is holding an event at Harvard on 23 April. The event includes a presentation related to volume 5 of the publication series and a discussion with the contributors of the volume.  See here for more details of the event and here for more details of the project.

Event: The Art of Being Black

On 20 February, David Neita will be presenting a talk on ‘ The Art of being Black’, which explores the representation of Black people in British art. This event is part of the Black Britain Seminar Series organised by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies. It takes place from 18:00 to 19:30 in Room 261 of Senate House, University of London. For more details, see here

Event: The Blk Art Group Symposium 2012

The Graves Gallery in Sheffield is hosting a symposium on Wednesday 22 February 2012 on the subject of Black artists during the 1980s. The symposium is linked with the gallery’s current exhibition on the Blk Art Group and brings together various artists and curators to discuss their work and explore its contemporary relevance. For more information on this free event and to make a booking, follow this link