#MustSeeLondon – Current Exhibitions 2019

There are some seriously exciting exhibitions happening in London currently! Many first showings in the UK from established Black artists. This post is merely a pointer towards a few I think you should check out.

Frank Bowling – Tate Britain

British Guyanese artist, Frank Bowling, explores and experiments immensely with what paint is able to produce. This retrospective exhibition guides us through Bowling’s 60 years of painting and experimenting; with 9 different spaces – or rather, rooms – we are taking through his trajectory. Room 1 shows his earliest work where he grapples with social and political issues and pours out memories of his own personal struggles. Room 2 is full of his paintings that were derived from photographs, still bringing the personal into it. Room 3 is full of the map paintings which highlights Bowling’s in identities and rejection of western-centric cartography.


Works from Room 5. L-R: Moby Dick, Mazarunitankfeat, and Vitacress.

Room 4, known as the poured paintings, brings out Bowling’s experimental nature once again. Room 5, the cosmic space, transports the audience to another realm full of colour and serenity. Room 6, as described by Dennis de Caires, “portrays the marriage of man to the physical world”(1986). Room 7, water and light, explores exactly that; with two paintings belonging to the series Great Thames after the River Thames. The eighth room, layering & stitching, is where Bowling incorporates different materials alongside acrylic paint and gel. The final room is os his recent works as Bowling still paints daily at the tender age of 85.


 Works from different rooms. Top left: Cover Girl. Bottom Left: Iona Miriam’s Christmas Visit To & From Brighton. Right: At Swim Two Manatee.

This exhibition is ticketed: £13 for Adults and £12 for students with other discounts available. If you are 16-25, do join the Tate Collective and you can get tickets (to any exhibition) for £5.

LR Vandy – October Gallery

Lisa R Vandy is having her first solo exhibition after an incredibly successful sell-out at the 1:54 African Art Fair. Vandy, working with hulls, starts a conversation about the transportation of migrants; she transforms these hulls into masks, each with their own personality and identity that she has drilled in.

The markings she makes on these hulls (masks) are often materials that suggest a form of protection around the maks; some are guarded by needles, others with darts and even porcupine spikes. Her style of work is particularly intriguing and one to engage with face-to-face. Vandy also introduces to the audience her These Women series which are a gathering of sculpted sisters, all showcasing their own individuality.

This exhibition is free admission and will be on display till the 29th of June at October Gallery.

Faith Ringgold – Serpentine Galleries

For her first European exhibition, Her Excellency (yes, that’s right!) Faith Ringgold brings her work to the Serpentine Galleries. Born in Harlem, New York, Ringgold has held a number of different career positions; she’s an artist, teacher, author, and lecturer. For many, she’s also an immense inspiration into their journey as an artist. Holding a whopping 23 Honorary Doctor of Fine Art degree(s), through her artwork, teaching, and children’s books, Ringgold continues to have the necessary conversation about how race and sex intertwine to make whole experiences.

American People #9: The American Dream (1964)
Slave Rape #3 of 3: Fight To Save Your Life (1972)

What a wonderful thing it is to experience Ringgold’s work in the flesh, to read her stories written on quilts, and to be moved by her brutally honest depiction of what America was then and now.

We Came To America (1997)

This exhibition is also free admission and will be on display till the 8th of September.

Hope you find the time to view one of these exhibitions (or any other ones). If you’re interested in attending the next Black Girl Meetup, as we will be going to view some new works by Lola Flash and Maxine Walker at Autograph ABP, be sure to register your interest here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/black-girl-meet-up-flash-walker-tickets-62715754510

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