Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Black Cultural Archives

 A plug for the new Black Cultural Archives centre in Brixton, and its opening exhibition, featuring the heritage of Black women in Britain through modern history, starting with a digital reconstruction of the face of a woman of African origin buried in York 2000 years ago, and the head of a serving woman in a drawing by Albrecht Dürer now in the British Museum.  It doesn’t aim to cover everything, partly because space is tight, but it gives a brilliant visual tour from the centuries up to the present, with Claudia Jones and Baroness Doreen Lawrence among recent figures of renown, and a poignant silent movie by  John Akomfrah dramatising the experience of Dürer’s sitters – so a great variety of media and approaches in a concise installation.  Also included the original ‘Crimea scrapbook’ – in fact a double folio volume of professionally mounted items including the oval photograph of Mary Seacole found in Winchester College library.   It is a pity that the gallery space is not larger because today it was difficult to move around for all the families studying the exhibits and panels and listening to the audio-guides – but a good augury for the future, with well-focussed, thoughtful displays.

The building is worth seeing too – the conversion of a run-down regency house with a new front courtyard space and a modern extension, by architects Pringle Richards Sharratt, based in Stockwell, who were responsible for the comparably visitor-friendly updating of the William Morris Gallery in E17.

Oh and of course there’s a café.

1 comment:

  1. I visited the Lady Lever Gallery yesterday to see "Rossetti's Obsession" - wonderful!!!

    But . . . . . catalogues out of stock? I know I wasn't the only one to be disappointed that there weren't any to buy. Will it be reprinted and available soon?

    Apologies if this comment is off-topic for the above post but I have no idea where else to ask.