Photo: Yinka Shonibare, 'Diary of a Victorian Dandy: 19.00 hours', 1998, from the series 'Diary of a Victorian Dandy'. Museum no. E.238-2013. © Yinka Shonibare/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s-1990s is a project to increase the number of black British photographers and images of black Britain in the V&A collection. It aims to raise awareness of the contribution of black Britons to British culture and society, as well as to the art of photography.
Over the last seven years the V&A has been working with Black Cultural Archives to acquire photographs either by black photographers or which document the lives of black people in Britain. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Museum has been able to collect 118 works by 17 artists. To complement the photographs, Black Cultural Archives have collected oral histories from a range of subjects including the photographers themselves, their relatives, and the people depicted in the images.
Founded in 1981, Black Cultural Archives’ mission is to collect, preserve and celebrate the heritage and history of Black people in Britain. They opened the UK’s first dedicated Black heritage centre in Brixton, London in July 2014, enabling greater access to the archive collection and providing dedicated learning spaces and an exciting programme of exhibitions and events that explore British history from a unique perspective. The archive collection offers insight into the history of people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain and includes personal papers, organisational records, rare books, ephemera, photographs, and a small collection of objects.
Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience, 1950s-1990s will be shown at the V&A in gallery 38A 16 February – 24 May 2015 (Free Admission)
Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience, 1950s-1990s an exhibition of around 25 photographs, will be shown at Black Cultural Archives 15 January – 30 June 2015 (Free Admission)