Social Fabric

Tosin Adeosun On Rita Keegan at South London Gallery

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. 

Dr. Althea Greenan on Rita in the Bishop’s Library

Her visitors came from around the world and it was quite a commitment for people to travel out to this 15thcentury Tudor palace in the middle of a park in southwest London. Undaunted, there were many Black artists, scholars and students who would make that trip to see Rita. I quickly understood how this feminist art library project thrived and produced new knowledge through the art of conversation and welcome in that front room, and most of this was achieved at Rita’s desk.

Trophies of Empire poster.

Trophies of Empire

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.