Tate Britain Talk

Library and Archive Show and Tell; Panchayat

Cover of catalogue for Crossing Black Waters, touring exhibition in the UK (1992),
Published By Working Press, London, edited / curated by  Shaheen Merali and Allan de Souza

Explore representations of cultural identity in this unique resource of first nation artworks

In this Show and Tell event, Tate Library will present a selection of materials from the Panchayat collection. Panchayat was co-founded by Shaheen Merali and Allan de Souza in 1988, after consultation with artists, Bhajan Hunjan, Symrath Patti and Shanti Thomas. As a self-funded collection, it responded to the need for the representation and curation of artists’ work from the global south and first nation artists. Initially based in Hoxton, East London, the Panchayat collection was moved to the University of Westminster Library in 2002, transferring to Tate Library in May 2015.

The collection is characteristic of its time, the late 1980s, representing contemporary artists who produced issue-based work, with a particular focus on cultural identity. The books, exhibition catalogues, information files containing unique and rare exhibition ephemera, journals, slides and videos from individual practitioners, certify to the growing interactions within a globalised field as well the commitment to issues around class, gender, race, sexuality and (dis)ability. The strengths of the Panchayat collection are found in its documentation and in the texts focused on the art produced by culturally diverse British artists, art from the global south and from individual artists. Cultural theory with an emphasis on issues of difference, political campaigns, educational interventions and related poetry and fiction are also to be discovered within its folds. These works, materials and ephemera often provided the source and inspiration for the emerging generation of post-colonial theorists, writers, artists and activists.

Hosted by Shaheen Merali, co-founder and Dr. Janice Cheddie, member of the Panchayat Advisory Group.

Tate Britain


3 February 2017 at 12.30–13.30

3 February 2017 at 13.30–14.30