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Meaning of Style: Black British style, and the underlying political, social environment

14 Jan, 2010 at 12:00 am - 4 Apr, 2010 at 12:00 am

A photograph of an art piece featuring a man sat on a bench, with colourful edited doodles on top of the image

Artists include: Barbara Walker (Birmingham); Vanley Burke (Birmingham); Clement Cooper (Manchester); Gerard Hanson (Oxford and Kingston, Jamaica); Michael Forbes (Nottingham)

Young African Caribbean men have often been portrayed as low achievers in British society. Now, with Barack Obama winning the fight for presidency in the United States of America, will we see young African Caribbean men portrayed in a different light, a source of huge potential for the future? And will the achievement of black youth in Britain over the last 30 years be recognised and honoured?

The presence of young African Caribbean community in the UK started to be felt in the mainstream media in the 1970’s. Portrayed negatively, this was a period of hope for the young Black community, a feeling that through direct action society could be changed for the better. The African Caribbean youth of the 1970’s were the first generation of the community in the UK to confront society and demand change on mass. This rebellious generation were reflected in the visibility of sub-cultures like the ‘Natty Dreads’ and the rise of music politically aware artists like Bob Marley. Young men developed a ‘Rebel’ style that influenced young people from all backgrounds, around the world. Style, fashion, ideology and the Black Diaspora may have changed over the years, but young Black men in the UK have made their presence felt ever since.

This exhibition will bring together artists from around the UK and Nottingham that have created portraits of young people using different mediums. This exhibition honours the achievements of young African Caribbean men and to tell the story of British ‘Black’ Style and the underlying political and social environment. Young ‘Black’ men in Nottingham will also be given the opportunity to produce work themselves, exploring these issues through photography and text.