Female Art in Action

In an exhibition that charts the rise of Black British identity and culture in the UK, No Colour Bar celebrates female artists’ integral role in interpreting contemporary life and the Black experience, played out through their views on religion, politics and sexual politics. Jessica Huntley whose passion and fiery commitment to fighting social injustice and engagement in humanitarian activism was legendary. Her influence helped lay the ground works for changing the profile and roles for women, playing a crucial part in enabling Black artists, activists and intellectuals to meet and exchange ideas – creating critical spaces for experimentation and learning.

Sonia Boyce, She Ain't Holding Them Up, She's Holding On (Some English Rose), 1986. (c) Sonia Boyce. DACS 2015. All rights reserved.

Sonia Boyce, She Ain’t Holding Them Up, She’s Holding On (Some English Rose), 1986. (c) Sonia Boyce. DACS 2015. All rights reserved.

 

Chila Kumari Burman, Auto Portrait, 1995, inkjet on canvas (c) The Artist.

Chila Kumari Burman, Auto Portrait, 1995, inkjet on canvas (c) The Artist.

Sonia Boyce MBE, recognised for her large chalk and pastel drawings re-imagining friends, family and childhood, was part of the Black British Art movement of the 1980s – a radical political art movement inspired by anti-racist discourse and feminist critique, which highlighted issues of race and gender. Inspired by her Kalabari heritage and African culture, critically acclaimed Sokari Douglas Camp CBE explores challenging political themes, including gender restrictions and divisions. Predominately sculpting in metal; a medium exclusively associated with male artists within Africa, Douglas Camp challenges cultural norms and conventions in the most striking way. Other notable female artists whose work will feature at the exhibition include Chila Kumari Burman and Lubaina Himid.

From an early age, Jessica Huntley led change in regard to supporting Black women’s rights, co-founding the Women’s Progressive Organisation to represent women’s issues in the Guyanese People’s Progressive Party’s fight for national liberation in 1953 before her arrival in the UK.  Jessica died in 2013 and her deeply rooted influence and legacy in empowering both women and men is evidenced by the rich diversity of the collection of papers and works in the Huntley Archives at LMA.