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Blk Art Group Symposium 2012 Day and Date: Wednesday, 22 February 2012 Time: 12.00pm – 8.00pm Venue: Millennium Gallery, Museums Sheffield, Arundel Gate, Sheffield, S1 2PP Cost: Free but booking essential To book: Telephone: 0114 278 2655 Email: learning@museums-sheffield.org.uk (deadline for bookings: Tuesday 14 February 2012)

Coinciding with the exhibition The Blk Art Group at Museums Sheffield, Graves Gallery, the Blk Art Group Symposium 2012 brings together artists and curators associated with the group in order to reappraise the cultural and artistic legacy of their work from the early 1980’s and explore its relevance for 2012.


Blk Art Group Symposium 2012 Speakers: Jason Bowman, Sonia Boyce, Lubaina Himid, Claudette Johnson, Keith Piper, Marlene Smith, Mike Tooby Who should attend? Artists; cultural historians and activists; students; museums, arts, culture and heritage professionals; academics; independent learners; community leaders; young cultural leaders What will I gain from attending? We hope attendees will leave with: Knowledge: of the story of the formation and life of the Blk Art Group from those who were part of it. Understanding: of the artistic, political, social and cultural contexts of the 1980s within which the Blk Art Group operated Inspiration and motivation: to apply the debates to practice in 2012 Background: The blk art group were art students who between 1981 and 1984 made what they named “radical black art”, organised exhibitions of that work and gathered other students and artists to discuss its form, function and future. The group’s line up and even its name changed over time but several members: Eddie Chambers, Claudette Johnson, Keith Piper, Donald Rodney and Marlene Smith played a consistent and influential role in its birth and evolution. The blk art group are referenced today as a key contributor to what has come to be known as “the black arts movement” of 1980s Britain. Their work raised the profile of black artists, who up until then had received little attention. In their wake the art establishment had to ask itself whether it was excluding black artists and audiences and whether it had been doing so for some years. A series of high profile exhibitions of black artists work would follow.


Blk Art Group Symposium 2012 The Programme: 12.00pm:

Refreshments and registration

Part 1: Contexts 12.30pm: Welcome and introduction from Co-Chair’s Sonia Boyce & Marlene Smith 12.45pm: Mapping the 80s: Recalling 80s culture with Keith Piper 1.15pm: 80s ideas of civic value, inclusion, and 'high art' versus 'community art' with Mike Tooby 2.00pm: Break & refreshments and relocate to Graves Gallery Part 2: Conversations: the work and practice 2.30pm: Marlene Smith in conversation with Jason Bowman 3.15pm: Claudette Johnson in conversation with Lubaina Himid 4.00pm: Break and relocate to Millennium Gallery 4.30pm: Sonia Boyce 5.15pm: Keith Piper on the Blk Assassin Saints. Part 3: Towards some conclusions 6.00pm: Plenary/Summary session with Panel of all speakers. Part 4: The social 6.30pm: Reception in Graves Gallery with contribution by young people involved in Blk Art Group-inspired project activity 8.00pm: Close


For further Information about Blk Art Group Symposium 2012 contact: Jon Bradley, Communities Manager T. 0114 278 2686 M. 07971 487 403 E. jon.bradley@museums-sheffield.org.uk

Blk Art Group exhibition at Museums Sheffield: Graves Gallery Open Wednesday --- Friday 10am --- 3pm, Saturday 11am --- 3pm. Free Entry. Continues until 24 March 2012

Blk Art Group includes a series of works that were acquired for Sheffield during the 1980s, but have been seldom displayed due to the delicate nature of the materials they were made from. Thanks to support form Arts Council England, these works have now undergone careful conservation. The exhibition will see these newly restored works go on show together for the first time in over 20 years alongside a series of personal loans from the Blk Art Group artists.

Blk Art Group features work by Eddie Chambers, Claudette Johnson, Keith Piper, Donald Rodney and Marlene Smith. The exhibition also explores the role that regional galleries, including those in Sheffield, played in supporting and promoting black British art at a time when many public art institutions were reluctant to engage with the work of black artists. Visitors to the exhibition will see Chambers’ How Much Longer (1984) and Piper’s Black Assassin Saints (1984), alongside later work from Rodney’s Britannia Hospital series (1988) from Sheffield’s collection shown together for the first time in over 20 years. Blk Art Group also includes Rodney’s installation The House That Jack Built (1987), Claudette Johnson’s And I Have My Own Business (1982) and Untitled (1983), and Marlene Smith’s Art History (1987) and Sugar Baby All the Time (1987). www.museumswww.museums-sheffield.org.uk


Blk Art Group Symposium 2012