Booking Closed Tate Britain Exhibition

Artist and Empire

25 November 2015 – 10 April 2016

This autumn Tate Britain presents a major exhibition of art associated with the British Empire from the 16th century to the present day.

George Stubbs Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians

Sidney Nolan Woman and Billabong 1957

The Singh Twins EnTWINed 2009 Museum of London

Johan Zoffany, 'Colonel Mordaunt's Cock Match' c.1784-6
Johan Zoffany
Colonel Mordaunt's Cock Match c.1784-6
Elizabeth Butler (Lady Butler), 'The Remnants of an Army' 1879
Elizabeth Butler (Lady Butler)
The Remnants of an Army 1879

Anonymous Delhi School, Mahadaji Sindhia entertaining a British naval officer and military officer with a Nautch c.1815-20

Jamini Roy Santhal Drummers

Rudolf Swoboda, Bakshiram 1886

Rudolf Swoboda Muhammad Hussain 1886

Youruba or Saro, Nigeria Queen Victoria

Hausa, Northern Nigeria, Leatherwork panel depicting colonial scenes c1940

John Thomas The Siege of Enniskillen Castle 1593

James Sant Captain Colin Mackenzie c1842–1844

John Griffiths, 'A Sannyasi - A Religious Mendicant' exhibited 1882
John Griffiths
A Sannyasi - A Religious Mendicant exhibited 1882
Sir John Everett Millais, Bt, 'The North-West Passage' 1874
Sir John Everett Millais, Bt
The North-West Passage 1874

In 21st century Britain, ‘empire’ is highly provocative. Its histories of war, conquest and slavery are difficult and painful to address but its legacy is everywhere and affects us all. Artist and Empire brings together extraordinary and unexpected works to explore how artists from Britain and around the world have responded to the dramas, tragedies and experiences of the Empire.

Featuring a vast array of objects from collections across Britain, including maps, flags, paintings, photographs, sculptures and artefacts, the exhibition examines how the histories of the British Empire have shaped art past and present. Contemporary works within the exhibition suggest that the ramifications of the Empire are far from over.

The show raises questions about ownership, authorship and how the value and meanings of these diverse objects have changed through history, it also asks what they still mean to us today.

Historic works by artists such as Joshua Reynolds and George Stubbs are shown with objects including Indian miniatures and Maori artefacts, as well as contemporary works by Hew Locke and Sonia Boyce. Through this variety of artworks from a complex mix of traditions, locations and cultures the fragmented history of the Empire can be told.

Watch the short film

In this short film Shami Chakrabarti discusses Simon van de Passe's portrait of Pocahontas:


Awe-inspiring, exciting and provocative, 5 starsThe Guardian
A genuinely interesting and absorbing showEvening Standard
Mesmerising, 4 StarsTime Out

Banner image credits: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015


Tate Britain
Plan your visit


25 November 2015 – 10 April 2016

Related events