Rita Keegan

Born in the Bronx in 1949, Rita is of Caribbean and Black-Canadian descent and moved to London in 1980 having studied Fine Art at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1969-1972. Her work explores memory, history, dress and adornment, often through the use of her extensive family archive – a photo- graphic record of a black middle class Canadian family dating from 1890s to present day.

Alongside contemporaries Keith Piper and Gary Stewart, her practice is a defining example of the ways in which new media experimentation intersect with the British Black Arts Movement. In the aftermath of the 1981 Brixton uprisings, Rita helped establish the Brixton Art Gallery, curating Mirror Reflecting Darkly, the first exhibition by The Black Women Artists collective in 1982.

She was the co-founder in 1984 of Copy Art, a resource and education space for community groups and artists working with the emerging technologies of computers, scanners and photocopiers. From 1985 – 1990 Rita was a staff member of the Women Artists Slide Library (WASL), where she established the Women Artists of Colour Index. In the early 1990s she was the Director of the African and Asian Visual Arts Archive (AAVAA). Alongside her artistic and archival practice, Rita also taught New Media and Digital Diversity at Goldsmiths, where she helped establish the digital-media undergraduate.

Employment

1995-2000

Lecturer at Goldsmiths University, Historical and Cultural Studies MA Fine Art Administration and Curatorship

1992-1994

Director, African and Asian Visual Artists Archive (AAVAA)

1988-1992

Coordinator, Women Artists Slide Library

Selected Exhibition History

2004/5Ghost of a chance Bath Hot House/Wolsey Art Gallery, group
2002Celebration Kingston Museum, group
2002Portential John Hansard Gallery &Holland, group
2001Inner & Outer Space 1234 Gallery, Port of Spain, Trinadad, group
1999/2000Transformations The Horniman Museum London, solo
1999Back and Wired Artizem, Luton, solo
1999Out-Fit The Waterman’s London, solo
1999Encounter Madrid, Spain, group
1998Family History 198 Gallery London, solo
1997/8Transforming the Crown New York, U.S.A, group
1996Lovebytes-96 UK Touring, group
1994/5Time Machine The British Museum London, group
1994L.P. W. Artists Exchange London/Brazil, group
19944th World Artists The Gallery X Theresa Mexico City, group
1993Rites of Passage Hedgehogs and Megabytes I.C.A., solo
1992Trophies of Empire Blue Coat Gallery Liverpool, group

Residencies

1999/2000Artist in residence, The Horniman Museum, London
1999Conference on Women and Printmaking, Madrid for British Council
1998Artist in residence, 198 Gallery, London
1994/5Adviser for the Johannesburg Biennial for British Council
1994Artists exchange/residence, San Pablo, Brazil for British Council
1994Artist in residence, Galley X Theresa, Mexico City
1993The Women's Caucus, Seattle, USA for Art Council of England
1992Manifest in Ghana for the Arts Council England
1991The Women's Caucus, Washington, D.C., USA
1984Lambeth /Moscow / Leningrad twinning Lambeth Arts Council London
1969-1971Scholarship to San Francisco Art Institute

Committees & Organisations

1997-2004London Arts Board Combine Arts advisory panel
1995-1999The Arts Council of England Combine Arts advisory panel
1992-1995The Arts Council of England advisory panel on Visual Art
1983-1990Executive Committee Member, Lambeth Arts Council
1985-1987Co-founder/ Director Secretary - Brixton Artists’ Collective
1982-1992The Arts Council of Great Britain Arts Projects Committee A.C.G.

Others include: Seminar on Art & Design Education in a Multi-Cultural Society—University of London; Executive Committee Member Working Studio — Small Mansion, Arts Centre

Media

1985—Present: Rita contributes and appears in television, film and video productions. As a panelist, she has contributed on the topics of art and contemporary style and has also contributed to a variety of publications and articles, including Open Space on BBC1, Taking Art Apart for British Art Week, Central Weekend—Mid Day, Network Ordinary People, a six part documentary featuring 15 women for Channel 4, ‘Start the Week’ on BBC Radio 4. She participated and was a consultant for the Open University on cultural diversity, as it pertains to women in the arts for the Women’s Studies Program.