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Artist’s Talk: Denzil Forrester and Matthew Higgs

In collaboration with Art on the Underground and Royal College of Art.

As part of Denzil Forrester’s forthcoming UK public commission with Art on the Underground join the artist and Matthew Higgs, Director of White Columns in New York for a lively discussion on the artist’s practice, teaching and inspirations.

For nearly four decades, Forrester’s paintings have been rooted in, and provide commentary on, the Afro-Caribbean experience in London. Pulsating with rhythm and an extraordinary use of colour, Forrester’s expressive depictions of dance halls and clubs captured the crowds moving in unison to the beat of the music. In contrast to the joy of his night-time revellers, Forrester concurrently created a series of works which subliminally revealed the rising tensions between police and the Afro-Caribbean community during the late 1970s and early 80s, which culminated in the 1981 Brixton Riots.

Through his energetic paintings, Forrester continues to make work about the past and present aspects of his life. For this commission, the artist has reinterpreted his seminal work Three Wicked Men (1982), now in the collection of Tate, London, into an immersive, large-scale painting. Made during his time at the Royal College of Art, Forrester has returned to Three Wicked Men several times over the decades. The title was borrowed from a track by Reggae George, released a year earlier, in which Forrester identifies the three men as a policeman, a politician and a businessman. In Forrester’s painted versions, the latter figure is often replaced by a Rasta. Reflective of the contemporary black experience and the racial tensions of the time, the painting features Winston Rose; a friend of Forrester’s who died whilst under police restraint in 1981 and which would continue to haunt many of his paintings for the next decade.

Forrester is the third commission in a new series at Brixton, following on from Njideka Akunyili Crosby in 2018 and Aliza Nisenbaum in 2019. The programme selects artists to respond to the diverse narratives of the murals from the 1980s, the rapid development of the area and the wider social and political history of mural making.

Book Tickets Here

 

Brixton Public Art Tour with Kelly Foster

Tour starts outside Brixton Underground Station

Come and listen to local historian and Blue Badge Guide Kelly Foster as she explores the memorialisation and portraiture in Brixton’s public art. From familiar sculptures to the lost murals she’ll look at who has been commemorated on the streets of Brixton and the artists that created them.

Tickets available here.

Family Tour: Brixton Murals

Tour starts at the entrance of Brixton library.

Join us for a free family tour of some of the Brixton murals led by Art on the Underground’s Engagement Project Manager Rachel Moss. Hear stories about the murals, take part in drawing activities and play games to learn more about the history of Brixton. Free sketchbooks provided.

No booking is required for the family tour. All ages welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please note if it rains the tour will still go ahead as some of the murals are undercover.

Artist’s Talk: Aliza Nisenbaum and Oliver Basciano

In collaboration with Art on the Underground and Contemporary Art Society

Mexican-born and New York-based artist Aliza Nisenbaum will discuss her practice and its relevance to the current political climate in the United States with Oliver Basciano, International Editor for ArtReview.

This event relates to Nisenbaum’s first UK public commission by Art on the Underground, opening on 10 April until September 2019 and Contemporary Art Society’s acquisition of a major new painting by Nisenbaum for Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery in 2018.

Influenced by the Mexican mural movement and its depiction of social history, Nisenbaum’s work probes the politics of representation by bringing together often-marginalized or overlooked groups of people to the fore in exquisitely painted portraits. She has continued this practice for her new commission where she was artist-in-residence, living and working in Brixton from 15 December 2018 until 27 February 2019. Through an open call, Nisenbaum then selected 15 members from Transport for London staff from Brixton station and the Victoria line – from train drivers, customer service staff, cleaners – who, over several hours, were individually painted in her studio to create a large-scale group portrait specifically for the entrance of Brixton Underground station.

Through her artistic process, Nisenbaum seeks to transform the traditional artist-sitter relationship by creating works which challenge the hierarchies of portraiture. For her, the process of painting portraits from live sittings is a reciprocal act, one that sets up an ethical encounter in which both participants give their attention and trust, and learn about one another.

Nisenbaum is the second commission in a new series at Brixton, following ‘Remain, Thriving’, 2018, a new site specific work from Njideka Akunyili Crosby. The programme selects artists to respond to the diverse narratives of the murals from the 1980s, the rapid development of the area and the wider social and political history of mural making.

Book Tickets Here