Black History Month
“In years gone by, October has been the only time of year when the UK talks about the achievements of Black people in Britain. Hopefully, the events of 2020 will be a catalyst for Black history to be shared much more widely – in museums, galleries, schools, universities, public spaces and communities.” – Catherine Ross, guest editor of Black History Month 2020
Here at RAMM we believe we have a responsibility, as a museum and art gallery, to ensure we represent our communities. The month of October provides an excellent opportunity for us to shine a light on Black history, Black artists and contributions to our culture from Britain, and from across the African diaspora. However, it is important that we continue to celebrate these contributions throughout the rest of the year as well.
For Black History Month 2020 we have been fortunate enough to interview two leading British artists about their art, and how race and cultural differences impact their practice: Joy Gregory, a contemporary photographer who has been the recipient of numerous awards and has exhibited all over the world showing in many festivals and biennales; and Nahem Shoa, a contemporary painter known for having increased the number of portraits of Black and mixed-race British people on display in British museums, who also serves on RAMM’s Contemporary Arts Panel. Both artists explore what it means to be British in modern society, and how this question of identity is ever-changing and evolving.
WATCH: Joy Gregory explores Devon’s local links to the slave trade, her research into the RAMM collections
We are also fortunate at RAMM to house the celebrated oil painting ‘Portrait of an African’; a piece at the centre of an ongoing debate around the identity of both the painter and the sitter. You can read our Decorative Arts curator Sally’s recent blog post, which explores the history of the painting, here:
Joy Gregory has been commissioned by RAMM to create a piece of artwork for the upcoming exhibition, In Plain Sight: Transatlantic Slavery and Devon. This exhibition will explore the region’s historic links to the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which, for some, remain ‘hidden in plain sight’. Using RAMM’s collections and the personal and professional experience of many contributors it aims to shed light on this hidden history. Find out more.
The exhibition will open in autumn of 2021.