UCLan hosts major celebration of Black Women’s Art in Britain

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Symposium marks 40 years of Black female artists making an impact in the UK

Some of the country’s best black female artists gathered at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) as part of a major symposium celebrating the achievements of black women’s art in Britain.

‘Black Women Artists Making and Doing’ focused on the work done by black women artists in the past four decades. The event marked 40 years since the formation of the BLK Arts Group in Wolverhampton in 1979, which first came together to help raise the profile of black artists through sculptures, painting and exhibitions in Britain.

This event has been a great opportunity to bring together practitioners, curators and historians to engage in conversations they will never forget.

Central to the celebrations was the work of Professor Lubaina Himid CBE, Professor of Contemporary Art at UCLan, who in 2017 became the first black female artist ever to win the prestigious Turner Prize.

Lubaina was joined at the event by some of the best female artists from both Britain and abroad including Dr Ingrid Pollard, Christine Eyene, Evan Ifekoya, Jade Montserrat, Amber Akaunu as well as Scotland’s current Poet Laureate Jackie Kay MBE.

In addition to showcasing both Lubaina’s work and those of other artists, the event also featured special discussions showing the development of British black female art in recent years.

Professor Lubaina Himid said: “This event has been a great opportunity to bring together practitioners, curators and historians to engage in conversations they will never forget.”

The symposium also followed just months after the 40th anniversary of the founding of the BLk Arts Group , which became the first group in Britain to positively promote black artistic work in Britain..

Formed in 1979 in Wolverhampton, it was formed by members of the British African- Caribbean Community raised in the industrial landscape in and around the West Midlands and has since aimed to raise the profile of black artists and their work.

View images from the event on Flickr.

Tim Fernandez | 17 January 2020