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Posted under: Discover News

The Tate Modern's New 'Black Power' Exhibition Celebrates The Art Of Revolution

The power of art is not to be underestimated.

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The days of the Civil Rights Movement, with Black Panthers and King, can seem far away from the here and now. Obviously, with the plague of nooses that we've seen of late, with Black Lives Matter still as relevant as it was when it was founded and with the shootings of black people by police showing no signs of stopping, we're fully in the midst of our own civil rights struggle.

But, the urge to look back is ever-present.

Not long ago, Harlem took a look at the Black Power movement with a exhibit at the Schomburg Center.

The curator of that show, Sylviane Diouf, said that one of the goals of the exhibition was to show that the Black Power movement was more than "afros, guns, fist, violence, in a kind of nihilistic time."

Continuing Diouf's work across the pond, curators Mark Godfrey and Zoe Whitley hope to do the same with their exhibition at London's Tate ModernSoul of A Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.

The show, on through October 22, brings together works of art created between 1963-1983. This collection of pieces is an amalgamation of a segregated history … and the dangers of such.

Photo: Hales Gallery
Photo: Hales Gallery

The show plucks works from artists creating around the U.S. during those years. And while famous works such as Warhol's Muhammad Ali are included, the curators have included a large number of artists that are not household names like Senga Nengudi and Frank Bowling. Collectives from the time like Spiral and AfriCOBRA take center stage too.

Photo: 2017 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Art, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London
Photo: 2017 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Art, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London

Photo: Barkley L. Hendricks
Photo: Barkley L. Hendricks

The reviews so far have been glowing, but perhaps the review from the Independent puts it best, “There are too many works and artists here to talk about all of them but what unites the work is the virtuosity of a group of artists, many of whom were largely written out of history until recently.”

When fighting resistance movements, we are usually fighting for the forgotten. But what this show helps to do is to ensure that the voices behind the revolution aren't forgotten either.

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