Until 10th April 2016
The Tate Britain is hosting an exhibition combining art, history and ethnography – Artist & Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past until 10th April 2016.
The exhibition Artist & Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past has brought together, in six themed rooms, some 200 items from different corners of the British Empire. You will find paintings, sculptures, photographs, maps and a diversity of other material there. These lend themselves to a transversal reading and tackle various topics such as the colonial wars, dominion over a foreign country by another, erstwhile fashions in racial theories and the situation of native populations under Her Gracious Majesty.
This contextualisation is the framework for discussing the impact of the former British Empire on our lives today together with how we now view other countries and their inhabitants. It also allows us to gauge the direct consequences on these regions, resonant still today: arbitrary geographical boundaries, the emergence of and support for national governments.
The cross-cultural perspective of European artists and those from former colonies furnishes a striking contrast, heavy with import.
The exhibition Artist & Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past was three years in preparation and centres on how to approach these works, some of which celebrate the British Empire whilst others condemn it. How best to deal with the past without merely reacting against it? How has our view of the British Empire changed over time? Since the 50s and 60s colonialism has lost its appeal and has become an embarrassment, almost a taboo subject. . Works praising it or even just depicting it are banished to the storage rooms or relegated to small provincial museums.
The complexity of the subject and different viewpoints are such that few British museums have risked tackling it before. However, the four curators who worked on this project assert that if the Empire helped to shape history, and sometimes the culture of the colonies, those countries also had a great impact on British culture in return.
For further details on this exhibition on British Empire
Place : Tate Britain
Address : Millbank, SW1P 4RG London
District : Pimlico-Belgravia
Open hours : Monday - Sunday: 10am - 6pm
Transport : Metro: Victoria