Living and working in London for three decades from the 1960s onwards, Trinidad born Horace Ové captured the emergence of black politics in Britain
and this landmark exhibition presents the first in-depth look at his
photographic back catalogue. Horace Ové is internationally known as one of the leading black independent
filmmakers to emerge in Britain since the post-war period. What is not generally known is that since the 1960’s he has been photographing Britain’s black Diaspora community. It is in this aspect where his work as a photographer is unique.
He was active during this period, working alongside
artistic factions and political activists, but at the same time had the
vision and artistic ability to document events, individuals and the
gatherings of black peoples from Africa, Caribbean and the USA – the
Diaspora – amongst the home-grown black communities.
Here was an artist keen to explore his Diasporian roots with works that
made links with Europe, Africa, the USA and the Caribbean. The images are
not journalistic or documentary in the Picture Post genre, but are
time-based stills which utilise Ové’s skills as a filmmaker, painter and
writer to construct images or key moments of the black Diaspora in Britain.
"Horace Ové is undoubtedly a pioneer in Black British history and his work
provides a perspective on the black experience in Britain."
100 Years of Cinema, British Film Institute
1960s Britain was a hotbed of political and creative activity, as writers
and thinkers came from around the world to discuss civil rights issues and
form new movements. Horace Ové was at many of the meetings and captured the
events as they unfolded, including the first Black Power meeting with
Stokely Carmichael, Allen Ginsberg and Michael X, founder of the black
power movement in the UK with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He also photographed
figures of the period including C L R James, James Baldwin and Darcus Howe
as well as Sam Selvon, Andrew Salkey and John La Rose, the founding members
of the Caribbean Artists’ Movement.
Ové also recorded the birth of the Notting Hill Carnival and charted its
growth through the 1970s and 1980s from the early beginnings with the first
Windrush generation to the pumping sound systems, fashions and street
dancing of the younger generation. He has also recently brought his work up
to date with new portraits of people such as Sir Trevor MacDonald and
Professor Stuart Hall.
This new exhibition provides an incredible insight into an explosive and
culturally exciting period of British history.
This exhibition is co-curated by Jim Waters and David A. Bailey,
and in association with Autograph - ABP.