In an in-depth series of 3 seminars we traveled with Kimathi Donkor back through the history of art as we know it, from the beginning of civilisation. The established cannon of art, amidst all the presence of history, how it affects us today. It provided a point of reference from which all other points radiate.
Orientated around the Migrations show at Tate Britain, we learnt the semiotics of 500yrs of works from Tate’s collection. We traced the development of mythology starting from Nubia in ancient Africa which has fed into Greek (Persius and Andromed) and Roman (Saint George and the Dragon) texts.
Picking apart the establishment and the empire (Tate founded by sugar baron, whose wealth depended on slaves), we also looked a the marginalisation of international artists arriving in the 1950s expecting to engage with contemporary art, but ended up frustrated. The fallacy of the idea of a British artist, as large immigration here in the 16th and 17th centuries founded artistic communities.
Sonia Boyce engages with modernism in this image, flattening lots of ideas into a single plane.
Clare Harford summed it up, “It made me think about the circumstances in which work is made, and how so much avant-garde comes from the conservative rural roots as it does today from the suburbs.”