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Pork Knocker Dreams

26 Sep, 2009 at 12:00 am - 19 Dec, 2009 at 12:00 am

A photograph of a statue of a head carved from wood, the head has his eyes closed and has branches on top of his head

Donald Locke’s influence has been acknowledged in seminal exhibitions such as Back to Black and The Other Story, and now his work is presented to a wider and younger public. In his first solo show in the UK since the 1970’s, we loudly reassert his place in British Art.

Pork Knockers are the gold prospectors of Guyana, intrepid individuals who, like the cowboys of the Wild West, are part of the national identity and of whom many tales are told. Searching the jungle that is the site of the mythical El Dorado, Locke’s own father earned the nick-name ‘Dunnamite Dan’ for his prospecting exploits.

A contemporary of artists such as Frank Bowling and Aubrey Williams, he was one of a generation of artists who travelled to Britain to study in the 1950’s. Returning home to Guyana in the year of its independence, he used Modernism allied with traditional arts to help mould a New International style. In 1971 he represented Guyana at The 12th Sao Paulo Biennial.

Locke moved to the US after receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1979, and has had major solo shows at Tucson Museum of Art, The Aljira Center for Contemporary Arts and Skoto Gallery, both in New York, and The City Gallery, Atlanta amongst others. Now in his 70’s, Locke is a vigorous artist who continues to push his practise forward, and Pork Knocker Dreams concentrates on work made during the last 10 years.

Curated by Indra Khanna and produced in partnership with New Art Exchange, Nottingham.