Room guide

Keith Piper, ‘Go West Young Man’ 1987
Keith Piper
Go West Young Man 1987
© Keith Piper

The exhibition explores how migration into this country has shaped the course of art in Britain over the last 500 years. Taking the form of a series of selected ‘moments’ drawn from the  Tate Collection – from 16th-century Flemish portrait painters, who came in search of new patrons, to moving image works from the early years of this century – Migrations traces both the movement of artists and the circulation of visual languages and ideas. In so doing, the exhibition raises fundamental questions about the formation of a national collection of British art against a continually shifting demographic.

Here we have a really important contrast with earlier times. People used to say goodbye to their old life – thinking they would never see their loved ones again. Now, with airline travel and modern communication, you can be here and over there at the same time. Life here can be nurtured and complemented by what you see on TV or the internet. An international experience is now part of British culture.