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Exhibition explores art and diversity in 20th century London

A ROOM OF THEIR OWN: Eric Huntley at the Walter Rodney bookshop speaking at a book launch

A PROJECT exploring black contributions to British culture in the 20th Century will be exhibited in London later this year following the approval of a Heritage Lottery grant.

No Colour Bar – Black British Art in Action (1960-1990) has been awarded £297,400 and will be managed by the Friends of the Huntley Archives at London Metropolitan Archives (FHALMA).

At the heart of the project is Bogle L’Ouverture Press, a publishing house and iconic bookshop founded by Eric and Jessica Huntley, which became a cultural hub for black creatives.

A six-month exhibition at the Guildhall Art Gallery, in the city of London, will recreate the bookshop as an installation displaying objects such as original documents, letters, images, and press cuttings to highlight its work over a 30-year period.

Also on display will be a selection of work from a range of visual artists, including paintings, sculpture, pottery and photographs.

Colin Prescod, of FHALMA, said: “Expect an absorbing exhibition and exposition of startling and radical imaginative works, addressing grand British cultural and historical matters, and touching on themes of existential and social restlessness.”

Artefacts from the Huntley Archives reflecting the turbulent socio-economic backdrop of the period through the eyes of African Caribbean communities will also be featured.

An events and education programme that will include an intergenerational conference in the autumn of 2015 will accompany the exhibition. Aspects of the display will also form the basis of a number of touring exhibitions.


Blondel Cluff, chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund London Committee, said the exhibition would tell the story of one of “London’s most vibrant migrant communities”, adding that it would enable new audiences “to have their own, personal experience of London’s global identity from the perspective of others”.

“A truly unifying experience that should be embraced,” she continued.

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