Kulture Review: Autograph ABP presents Black Chronicles II

Autograph ABP presents Black Chronicles II

London, England

12th September — 29th November

Curated by Renée Mussai and Mark Sealy

In memory of Stuart Hall (1932 - 2014)

Arts | Kulture | Politics

Have you ever walked in to a time machine? I’m guessing not.

Recently I went to the press event for Black Chronicles II, and I felt as if I had been exposed to little piece of British history, that I'd rarely seen before. An exhibition which features photography of the African, Caribbean and Asian communities of Britain in the 19th Century.

Autograph ABP presents Black Chronicles II, an exhibition that wants to elevate a lost history.

Images that would’ve been 4x6, blown up and placed on the black gallery walls of Rivington Place, were beautiful and “almost vogue like”. The exhibition presents over 200 photographs that were found in private collections and public archives across the UK. The display also features original prints of Sarah Forbes Bonnetta, Queen Victoria’s goddaughter.

“Do you know what disapproval is? It is when one says 'You were in my country for 400 years, so what do you mean where do I come from?’" - Stuart Hall 

People often assume that black people didn’t arrive in Great Britain until after the war, in the 1950’s. Yes - that is true, a lot of people from the former British Empire did arrive in the UK around the 1950’s. However, a history that is often forgotten or sidelined, is that ethnic minorities were in the UK in the Victorian era. ONS Statistics show that we are living in a more diverse nation, then ever - but research by Autograph ABP, shows that the presence of ethnic minorities in Britain has been something that has grown over the last 300 year (at the very least).

The main feature of the display was the 30 portraits of members of The African Choir, who toured Britain between 1891 - 1893. It’s the first time these images have ever been on display to the public, and they’re just beautiful. One thing, you can’t fail to notice, are their eyes, and how clear the prints are.

The second floor of the exhibition features albumen silver print and over 100 Carte-De-Visite, in cabinets and on the walls.

The exhibition is free and goes on until the 29th November.

A note to take away with you:

“They are here because you were there, there is an umbilical connection. There is no understanding Englishness without understanding its imperial and colonial dimensions.” -  Stuart Hall, 2008

Other similar exhibition: 

Gillet Square, Dalston - October 17th and 18th 2014

Black Chronicles: The Missing Chapter Image Projection Campaign II: Cartes-De-Visites

Rich Mix - November 7th - 9th 2014

Black Chronicles: The Missing Chapter Image Projection III: The King's Orderly Indian Officers (1903 - 1938)