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Staying Power: 10 Stunning Photographs Of Black British Experience At The V&A
Take a look at these 10 amazing images from the V&A's new photography exhibition focusing on Black-British identity, through style, culture, beauty & reportage.
The black British experience goes back at least 2,000 years – when legionaries from Africa settled here – and has always been part of Britain’s cultural dynamism. But if you look for evidence of this in our museums, you’ll sometimes be disappointed.
Over the past decade, however, London’s V&A has been working to fix this. The V&A was the first museum to collect photography as an art form, and it now has more than half a million photographs in its collection. Many of these tell the story of black British art and culture, but they’ve never been gathered into one collection – until now, along with fantastic new Lottery funded acquisitions. The V&A has teamed up with Brixton-based Black Cultural Archives to present ‘Staying Power’, a striking display of more than 50 photographs from the 1950s to the 1990s – a period when black Britons transformed the nation’s music, art, fashion and youth scenes.
There are some fantastic finds. The black-and-white series ‘On A Good Day’, by American photographer Al Vandenberg (who studied with Richard Avedon), stops random black Londoners on the street for impromptu portraits, resplendent in the street styles of the day. Then there are shots by rock photographer Dennis Morris, a close friend of Bob Marley and the Sex Pistols. You’ll also find images from multicultural post-war Notting Hill, and the vibrant reggae, soul and hip-hop scenes of the 1980s. There are dandies, beauty queens, campaigners and kids.
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