Tuesday, 17 August 2010


In relation to the exhibition, I’m sure you’re wondering about my grand statement. How is it possible to probe blackness as a cultural construct – much less through drawing? On a really basic level, I am trying to develop a more fluid and intuitive process. Something less known and something more discovered – it might seem like a really simple objective, but it’s taken me a long time to get here. In some respects I regard black as an unknown or invisible potential. So there is a loose idea around it, maybe it’s more about a point in time... Like most artists I make stuff because I have to. Naturally it’s linked to the things I’m going through and thinking about.

'In the house of my father' 1996-7 Donald Rodney

I had a recent realisation - I think I’ve been stuck in a time warp. Over the years I’ve been responding to one particular moment… essentially the cultural manifestations of the 80’s and 90’s ‘Black British’ experience. Driven by the political climate, the oppositional was in effect hardwired into the psyche of the black artist. I struggled with that, ultimately I couldn’t get over the degree of collusion that enabled my art school training. It felt like my moral compass was being tested…

I think (like most people) I have a lot of baggage, the struggle in understanding the academic framing of my position, the guilt from my wish to escape from it. Whether I understand it or not, colonial, postcolonial history and theory are amongst the many external forces/currents which envelope and influence my existence.

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