Tate has acquired three major pieces of work by Black Audio Film Collective: the seminal film Handsworth Songs 1986, and the two tape slide installations Expeditions One: Signs of Empire 1984 and Expeditions Two: Images of Nationality 1984. All three works were presented by Tate Members.They will be on display at Tate Britain from January to May 2009 as part of the BP British Art Displays 2009. This will be the first time in over twenty years that the haunting works Expeditions One: Signs of Empire and Expeditions Two: Images of Nationality will have been screened together.
Black Audio Film Collective was a cine-cultural film group formed in 1982 by seven former college friends in London. The group wrote theoretical papers, ran screenings of experimental and third world cinema, held filmmaking workshops and produced films that explored identity politics, representation and filmmaking aesthetics. The Collective became renowned for its pioneering multidisciplinary work and its creation of space for Black British cinema to develop and flourish. The three works now in Tate Collection were self-financed and distributed by the Collective, and are recognised as a cornerstone of the independent film movement of the 1980s.
The Collective’s members included John Akomfrah, Reece Auguiste, Lina Gopaul, Eddie George, Avril Johnson, David Lawson and Trevor Mathison, and together they made fourteen films and two tape slide installations. The group’s ground-breaking films, alongside its other work, resulted in a number of awards at major international film festivals through the 1980s and 90s, including the prestigious John Grierson Award for Handsworth Songs. The Collective has also participated in the Official Selections of key international film festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Melbourne, Venice and Bombay (Mumbai). Black Audio Film Collective was wound up in 1998.
Expeditions One: Signs of Empire, Expeditions Two: Images of Nationality and Handsworth Songs, will be on display at Tate Britain’s BP British Art Displays until May 2009. Admission to the displays is free.
Notes to Editor
BP British Art Displays 1500-2009 is supported by BP. BP has supported Collection Displays at Millbank since 1990, first at the Tate Gallery and then from the opening of Tate Britain in 2000 to the present. BP’s continued support, which was recently extended until 2012, allows Tate Britain to create a broad and dynamic displays programme which explores in depth British art from 1500 to the present.
John Akomfrah will be at Tate Britain on Friday 27 March for Mix it up!when he will be in conversation and performance with MC Soweto Kinch. Together they will explore the place of music and film in defining ‘Britishness’. The event is free and is for 15-25 year olds.
Three members of Black Audio Film Collective still work together: John Akomfrah OBE, Lina Gopaul and David Lawson in their new company Smoking Dogs Films. For information on Smoking Dogs Films contact David Lawson at Smoking Dogs Films 0207 241 4933.