Keynote Speaker

Keith Piper

Keith Piper is a British based artist and academic, and a founding member of the BLK Art Group. He grew up in and around Birmingham. His creative practice responds to specific social and political issues, historical relationships and geographical sites. Adopting a research driven approach, and using a variety of media, his work has ranged from painting, through photography and installation to a use of digital media, video and computer based interactivity. Keith currently works in the Fine Art Department at Middlesex University, London.

An in-conversation with Claudette Johnson, Keith Piper and Marlene Smith, artists and founding members of the influential BLK Art Group

Formed in Wolverhampton in the late 1970s, the group known first as the Wolverhampton Young Black Artists and later the BLK Art Group brought together young artists including Keith Piper, Marlene Smith, Eddie Chambers, Donald Rodney, Claudette Johnson, Wenda Leslie, Dominic Dawes, and Ian Palmer. With roots deep in the Midlands, the group had significant political and artistic importance; their work spoke to and about race, class and gender relations in the UK and challenged narrow parameters of art-making and aesthetics. They forged the way for the founding of institutions such as The Black-Art Gallery, INIVA and the Association of Black Photographers. In this panel discussion the artists will talk about their work and the legacies of the BLK Art Group, and reflect upon the intersections of art practices, politics and histories then and now, and what the future might hold for British art and art history.





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