As a curator and visual art researcher interested in activating archives of Black art, looking into Rita Keegan and SLG’s archive presented a fresh perspective of aspects of Keegan’s life, artistic practice and her local community in South London during the pivotal UK Black Arts Movement. Undertaking this research project provided a lens to look at intersections of race, gender and family history through Keegan’s archive.
Rita Keegan Archive
Trophies of Empire was a project about remembering, or more accurately about reminding and revealing. The curatorial intention was to commission artworks that reflected the legacies of Britain’s colonial exploits – its ‘trophies of empire’ – that continue to resonate in our cities and towns, as manifested for instance in street names, monuments, museum collections, or in the presence of diasporic communities from former colonies.
Trophies of Empire was a different model to the then predominant black artists’ group exhibition in that the commissions were open to any artist, a recognition that the history of colonialism and empire is a shared one.