CHRIS STEPHENS: This is Frank Bowling’s ‘Mirror’, it is a painting about aspiration. NARRATOR: Curator Chris Stephens. CHRIS STEPHENS: It is based on the staircase that linked the Royal College of Art where Bowling was a student alongside Hockney and others, with the V&A Museum; it links a place of anarchic exploration with a space of established culture and Bowling shows himself twice in this image, reflecting a kind of confusion in his own identity. At the top he swings his leg out as if daring to challenge and to pursue that anarchic spirit of the Royal College, but at the bottom he emerges more sedately, more refined, perhaps indicating his ambition to become integrated as an artist in Britain. NARRATOR: Born in Guyana, Bowling came to Britain when he was fifteen, and later attended Chelsea School of Art and Royal College of Art. In the mid-sixties, he moved to New York, and while there, began exploring abstraction. This painting was made in 1966, and combines a figurative approach, the figures at the centre, with a more abstract dimension, in the flattened floor pattern on the left.