Denzil Forrester Jah Shaka 1983. Collection Shane Akeroyd, London © Denzil Forrester

Denzil Forrester Jah Shaka 1983. Collection Shane Akeroyd, London © Denzil Forrester

1 December 2021 – 3 April 2022
Supported by the Deborah Loeb Brice Foundation, with additional support from the Life Between the Islands Exhibition Supporters Circle, Tate Americas Foundation, Tate Patrons and Tate Members.
Research supported by Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational in partnership with Hyundai Motor

Open daily 10.00 – 18.00
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Opening at Tate Britain in December, Life Between Islands will be a landmark exhibition exploring the extraordinary breadth of Caribbean-British art over four generations. It will be the first time a major national museum has told this story in such depth, showcasing 70 years of culture, experiences and ideas expressed through art, from visionary paintings to documentary photography. The exhibition will feature over 40 artists, including those of Caribbean heritage as well as those inspired by the Caribbean, such as Ronald Moody, Frank Bowling, Sonia Boyce, Claudette Johnson, Peter Doig, Hew Locke, Steve McQueen, Grace Wales Bonner and Alberta Whittle, working across film, photography, painting, sculpture and fashion.

The exhibition begins with artists of the Windrush generation who came to Britain in the 1950s, including Denis Williams, Donald Locke and Aubrey Williams. It will explore the Caribbean Artists Movement, an informal group of creatives like Paul Dash and Althea McNish, whose tropical modernist textile designs were inspired by the Caribbean landscape. The rise of Black Power in Britain will be shown in works such as Horace Ové’s photographs of Stokely Carmichael and Neil Kenlock’s Black Panther school bags 1970. The exhibition will also include a new iteration of Michael McMillan’s The Front Room, a reconstruction of a fictional 1970s interior, evoking the role of the home as a safe space for social gatherings at a time of widespread prejudice.

Works from the Black Art Movement of the 1970s and 80s depicted the social and political struggles faced by second generation members of the Caribbean-British community. Photographs by Dennis Morris and Vanley Burke present everyday scenes of love, family and social life in the midst of struggle and hardship. Major uprisings in the 1980s will be explored in works such as Isaac Julien’s Territories 1984, showing the conflict between carnival revelers and the police, and Denzil Forrester’s Death Walk 1983, a tribute to Winston Rose who died in police custody. Other artists looked back to colonial history and its continuing resonance. Keith Piper’s photo-collage Go West Young Man 1987 connects the horrific dehumanisation of Transatlantic slavery with the media’s demonization of young Black men, while Ingrid Pollard’s Oceans Apart 1989 conveys the co-existence of the Caribbean and Britain, past and present, through intimate everyday scenes.

The exhibition will continue with artists who emerged either side of the millennium. While the Caribbean-British population forged new identities and communities in Britain, it also became embedded in British culture from reggae and dub to annual carnivals. Some artists chose to move in the opposite direction from Britain to the Caribbean, including Peter Doig and Chris Ofili who relocated to Trinidad in 2003. Lisa Brice and Hurvin Anderson have also both made paintings inspired by their time on the island, including Brice’s After Ophelia 2018 and Anderson’s Maracas III 2004.

The exhibition will end with artists who have emerged more recently, many of whom revisit themes encountered earlier in the show. It will include new works created especially for the exhibition, including new designs by Grace Wales Bonner evoking the brass bands and parades of the Commonwealth Caribbean, Marcia Michael’s multimedia collaboration with her Jamaican mother connecting her voice and body to generations of history and memory, and a photographic installation by Liz Johnson Artur charting the early development of south London’s Grime music scene.

Life Between Islands is curated by David A Bailey, Artistic Director of the International Curators Forum, and Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain. It will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue from Tate Publishing and an anthology entitled Liberation Begins in the Imagination: Writings on British Caribbean Art from Tate Publishing and ICF the International Curators Forum.

For press information contact or A selection of high-resolution press images can be downloaded from Tate’s dropbox site.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby (b.1983), Hurvin Anderson (b.1965), Martina Attille (b.1959), Frank Bowling (b.1934), Sonia Boyce (b.1962), Lisa Brice (b.1968), Vanley Burke (b.1951), Pogus Caesar (b.1953), Eddie Chambers (b.1960), Blue Curry (b.1974), Paul Dash (b.1946), Peter Doig (b.1959), Denzil Forrester (b.1956), Armet Francis (b.1945), Joy Gregory (b.1959), Lubaina Himid (b.1954), Claudette Johnson (b.1959), Liz Johnson Artur (b.1964), Tam Joseph (b.1947), Isaac Julien (b.1960), Roshini Kempadoo (b.1959), Neil Kenlock (b.1950), Donald Locke (1930 – 2010), Hew Locke (b.1959), John Lyons (b,1933), Michael McMillan (b.1962), Althea McNish (1924- 2020), Steve McQueen (b.1969), Marcia Michael (b.1973), Ronald Moody (1900-84), Dennis Morris (b.1960), Chris Oflili (b.1968), The Otolith Group (founded 2002), Horace Ové (b.1939), Zak Ové (b.1966), Ada M. Patterson (b.1994), Charlie Phillips (b.1944), Keith Piper (b.1960), Ingrid Pollard (b.1953), Grace Wales Bonner (b.1990), Barbara Walker (b.1964), Maxine Walker (b.1962), Vron Ware (b.1952), Alberta Whittle (b.1980), Aubrey Williams (1926-90), Denis Williams (b.1923-98)

Over the past two decades Tate’s collection, displays and programmes have expanded beyond Europe and North America to be more open, inclusive and reflective of its audiences. Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational marks a next decisive step on this journey by placing the exchange of ideas between art and artists from around the world at the very core of Tate. The Centre will transform how Tate grows and shares knowledge about multiple art histories with individuals and organisations around the world. Over the next 5 years, the Centre’s vision is to offer new perspectives on global art histories.

Hyundai Motor’s support for the Centre began in January 2019 and will continue to December 2024, in addition to their support of Tate Modern’s annual Hyundai Commission which began in 2015. During this time the Centre will host several research events including annual symposia, seminars and workshops at Tate and beyond. For more information visit

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Life Between Islands: Caribbean British Art 1950s Edited by Alex Farquharson and David A. Bailey
Publishes November 2021, Hardback, £40.
Featuring contributions by a variety of authors including Paul Gilroy and Grace Wales Bonner, Life Between Islands traces the connection between Britain and the Caribbean in the visual arts from the 1950s to today; a social and cultural history more often told through literature or popular music. Delving into one of the richest facets of art in Britain since the Second World War across multiple generations, it is the first major publication with a focus on contemporary art that reflects on a pre- and post-Windrush Caribbean/British movement.

Liberation Begins in the Imagination
David A. Bailey, Allison Thompson
Publishes December 2021, Hardback, £30.

A vital new anthology exploring the contribution of the Caribbean to the story of Britain and British art today, Liberation Begins in the Imagination brings together existing writings and previously unpublished texts from the post-war period to the present, as well as revelatory new essays from the world’s most influential voices on the subject. Contributors include: Rasheed Araeen, Coco Fusco, Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall, Roshini Kempadoo, George Lamming, Errol Lloyd, John Lyons, Amna Malik, Courtney J. Martin, Michael McMillan, Kobena Mercer, Richard J. Powell, Elizabeth Robles, Lou Smith, Helen Sumpter, Claire Tancons, Gilane Tawadros, Jessica Taylor and Yvonne Weekes.

A Brief History of Black British Art Rianna Jade Parker
Publishes December 2021, Paperback, £15.

This concise introduction (160 pp) showcases the work of over sixty Black British artists from the 1960s to the present day, celebrating their outstanding contribution to art and global culture. A Brief History of Black British Art brings together some of the most prominent and influential artists of recent decades alongside work by a new generation of artists at the forefront of contemporary British art.