Thin Black Line(s)

In the early 1980s three exhibitions in London curated by Lubaina Himid – Five Black Women at the Africa Centre (1983), Black Women Time Now at Battersea Arts Centre (1983-4) and The Thin Black Line at the Institute for Contemporary Arts (1985) – marked the arrival on the British art scene of a radical generation of young Black and Asian women artists. They challenged their collective invisibility in the art world and engaged with the social, cultural, political and aesthetic issues of the time.

This display features a selection of key works by some of these artists. At their core is a conceptual reframing of the image of black and Asian women themselves. Drawing on multiple artistic languages and media, these works repositioned the black female presence from the margins to the centre of debates about representation and art making.

Most of the works on display have been lent by the Arts Council and from artists’ private collections. They and local museums were more proactive at the time than national museums such as Tate in collecting these works.

The participants in the three exhibitions were: Brenda Agard, Sutapa Biswas, Sonia Boyce, Chila Burman, Jean Campbell, Jennifer Comrie Margaret Cooper, Elizabeth Eugene, Lubaina Himid, Claudette Johnson, Mumtaz Karimjee, Cherry Lawrence, Leslee Wills, Houria Niati, Ingrid Pollard, Veronica Ryan, Marlene Smith, Maud Sulter and Andrea Telman.

This display has been devised by artist Lubaina Himid MBE, Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire, with curator Paul Goodwin.

On display until 18 March 2012, admission is free.

BP British Art Displays 1500-2011

Artists showing work in Thin Black Line(s) 2011 include

Sutapa Biswas, Sonia Boyce, Lubaina Himid, Claudette Johnson, Ingrid Pollard, Veronica Ryan, Maud Sulter

Selected images from Thin Black LInes Tate Britain 2011/12

Listen to Paul Goodwin on Thin Black Line(s)

 

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About the Artists

Wall texts for Thin Black Line(s) Gallery 5 Tate Britain 2011-2012 with links for further information Claudette Johnson  born 1959 England  Her early large-scale pastel drawings on paper depict black women as monoliths, larger than life. She drew close women acquaintances, friends and family. Johnson’s work developed into ‘a journey in search of a rhythmic […]

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Letters to Susan

Dear Susan Thank you for asking such interesting questions, the business of answering all of them is going to be a test of my resolve, my memory and my pride. The best way for me to begin to discuss any strategy for exhibiting visual art is always to list the artists. I could describe the […]

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Moments & Connections

The map devised by Lubaina Himid, illustrating the moments and connections that led to the creation of the Thin Black Line(s) exhibition, which was a key visual element in the show at Tate Britain.

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Selected Archive Materials

A small selection of the archive materials that appeared in the display cabinets at Tate Britain for the Thin Black Line(s) exhibition. This material is permanently in the Making Histories Visible archives.  

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Thin Black Line(s) – Installation

A photographic documentation of the installation of the Thin Black Line(s) exhibition at Tate Britain in 2011. Photographs ©Susan Walsh The participants in the three exhibitions were: Brenda Agard, Sutapa Biswas, Sonia Boyce, Chila Burman, Jean Campbell, Jennifer Comrie, Margaret Cooper, Elizabeth Eugene, Lubaina Himid, Claudette Johnson, Mumtaz Karimjee, Cherry Lawrence, Leslee Wills, Houria Niati, Ingrid […]

Thin Black Line(s) Display Case - photo Denise Swanson

Thin Black Line(s) at Tate

In the early 1980s three exhibitions in London curated by Lubaina Himid – Five Black Women at the Africa Centre (1983), Black Women Time Now at Battersea Arts Centre (1983-4) and The Thin Black Line at the Institute for Contemporary Arts (1985) – marked the arrival on the British art scene of a radical generation of young Black and Asian women artists. They […]

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Thin Black Line(s) Catalogue

For a Free copy of the beautiful 100 page Thin Black Line(s) Catalogue, full colour and packed with images and information send us your mailing address and email contact details. We also have available a number of copies of the Thin Black Line(s) Brochure – Moments and Connections, just send us your mailing address and email details as above. Map_LH_Tate_Flyer_1 […]

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Thin Black Line(s) images

All of the images from the TBL site to be transferred into this section

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Thin Black Line(s) Symposium – Making it Happen

Conway Hall, London February 28th 2012 The symposium was designed to bring together artists exhibiting in the Tate Britain exhibition to see whether we might be able to develop some collaborative discussions around making and the development of ideas. The day was structured in such a way that the speakers Claudette Johnson, Ingrid Pollard, Sutapa […]