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.
Selected Exhibition History
Committees & Organisations
Others include: Seminar on Art & Design Education in a Multi-Cultural Society—University of London; Executive Committee Member Working Studio — Small Mansion, Arts Centre
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.
- GHOST OF A CHANCE
- INIVA: TIME MACHINE
- James Putnam: Archive
- INIVA: Rita Keegan
- Ten.8. “Critical Decade: Black British Photography in the 80s
- Autograph: September 1997
- LOVEBITES: Hands — Rita Keegan
- 198 Gallery: Family Histories — Rita Keegan
- Third Text, Janice Cheddie, ‘Rita Keegan: Documents of Memory’, n45, Winter 1998-99
- Bluecoat Publications: TROPHY OF EMPIRE
- Wikipedia: Rita Keegan