Indepth Arts News: |
"Dave Lewis: Photographs and Text Combine to Address Racism"
2001-10-05 until 2001-11-18
It is now over eight years since the murder of Stephen
Lawrence on Well Hall Road, Eltham, South London on the
evening of 22 April 1993. The resulting investigation, trials,
reports and Inquiry have kept the case in the public realm,
even more so because the murderers are still at large.
Artist Dave Lewis, using selected quotes from the Sir William
Macpherson Inquiry - the official document generated in the
wake of Stephen Lawrence's murder, published in 1999 - has
created a dialogue between the public manifestation of the
murder, outlined in the Inquiry, with a set of photographs
depicting intimate and psychologically charged images of a
black man at home. Lewis says I have deliberately
reconstructed the sentences (albeit in document order) not
so much as an anchor for the photographs, but to try and
engage the viewer in the significance of the public report, i.e.
an official document that envelops us all. In fact the quotes
do not give any direct meaning to the photographs, but act
more like sound vibrating in the background, a sound without
any source that continues regardless of whether it is day or
This juxtaposing of quotes from a key chapter in the
Macpherson Inquiry entitled Chapter Six-Racism, with
photographs of private domestic moments, brings to our
attention that racism is not only something that takes place on
the streets, at work or inside large institutions, but can even
undermine a person1s individuality in their own private space.
The first photographs from Dave Lewis' new project, Wall,
metaphorically broadens the perspective of the narrative
Chapter Six-Racismin terms of culture and the physical
structure of institutional racism. What appear to be
architectural photographs, devoid of people, challenge the
viewer to think about what happens behind these seemingly
innocent 'walls'. The image, Crown Prosecution Service
(Wall), showing the silver handle on the door of the building,
encourages us to consider not only the way in which
institutions are built - but their uses and functions. Is the wall
a barrier and if so to whom?
Dave Lewis studied Film and Photography at the Polytechnic
of Central London (PCL) now the University of Westminster.
He has a personal commitment to teaching and has
conducted many workshops, in particular in schools,
promoting the creative potential of photography and digital
technologies. He has exhibited widely both in Britain and
internationally. He is a member of Autograph ABP.
Paul Wombell, Director