Tate Modern Workshop

Work It Out: Reactions to Soul of a Nation

Betye Saar Eye 1972 Collection of Sheila Silver and David Limburger copyright Betye Saar. Courtesy of the Artist and Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, California. Photo Robert Wedemeyer

Betye Saar Eye 1972 Collection of Sheila Silver and David Limburger copyright Betye Saar. Courtesy of the Artist and Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, California. Photo Robert Wedemeyer

How does the art and history explored in the exhibition Soul of a Nation relate to issues in contemporary British society?

Led by artist Zinzi Minott and curator Imani Robinson, this day-long workshop includes a visit to the exhibition, presentations on emerging forms of politically engaged art and curatorial practice, and discussion of the questions raised by the exhibition, with a particular focus on Black British responses. Contributors include artists Errol Anderson, Joy Miessi and Jamila Johnson-Small. 

​Still from What Kind of Slave Would I Be? 2017 by Zinzi Minott © Zinzi Minott​

​Still from What Kind of Slave Would I Be? 2017 by Zinzi Minott © Zinzi Minott​


Zinzi Minott’s work focuses on the relationship between dance, bodies and politics. Strongly identifying as a dancer, she seeks to complicate the boundaries of dance and the place of black female bodies within the form. Her work explores how dance is perceived through the prisms of race, queer culture, gender and class. Zinzi is interested in the space between dance and other art forms, and though her practice is driven through dance, the outcomes range from performance and live art to sound, film and dance.

Imani Robinson is a London-born and based British-Caribbean, African-American organiser, facilitator and writer. Her work focuses on resisting anti-Black racism, and further extends to issues concerning black feminist liberation, LGBQTNI+ rights and decolonial environmental politics, building radical consciousness through movement-building, art, education and dialogue. She channels her work through Black Lives Matter UK and sorryyoufeeluncomfortable, a collective that uses art practice to interrogate dominant discourses. Robinson is also a contributor to Huck and Ceasefire Magazine.

Errol Anderson is a London-based DJ, journalist, radio broadcaster and founder of musical community, Touching Bass. Errol’s work has consistently focused on highlighting the breadth of black-oriented musical culture. Since late 2014, Errol and his close-knit family of friends have been organising music-led parties and discussions under the Touching Bass banner. These innovative, community based events aim to breathe fresh air into London’s current nightlife; putting the exploration of music and good people before everything else. Their efforts have led to multiple appearances at cultural institutions like the V&A, Tate Britain and Tate Modern as well as renowned music festivals like Dimensions, Outlook and Brainchild. Alongside his own ventures, Errol is also a host and event programmer for the global online music broadcasting platform, Boiler Room. 

Born and based in London, Jamila Johnson-Small makes dances and works to create spaces (on stage, in corners, on screens, in rooms, in bodies) with no single direction and no clear intentions, harbouring no desire to be useful other than to make gestures towards decentralised power and non-hierarchical structures for existing. Her choreographic interest is in framing, how to frame a body to reveal or provoke certain questions and build an atmospheric response to that. Her practice looks to disengage with the ideas of improvement and betterment and progress that drive neoliberal capitalism, with cultural systems of value that direct and inform style and in which she finds no interest or agreement. On-going collaborations are Project O with Alexandrina Hemsley, immigrants and animals with Mira Kautto (currently defunct), work with Fernanda Munoz-Newsome, HOTLINE conversation event with Sara Sassanelli and GUSH a semi-regular low-key DIY art night event. She has spent the summer in residence at Live Art Bistro (Leeds), ICA (London) and Villa Empain (Brussels). Current solo project i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere will premiere at Fierce festival (Birmingham) in October.

Joy Miessi: I translate moments, conversations, feelings and intimate thoughts into visual pieces, in order to be able to reflect on them. Each image triggers a memory, a moment in time, and is usually quite intimate and personal. Themes such as race, gender, and sexuality are reoccurring throughout my work. My work is a self-documentation of my life and experience as an individual from the diaspora. I was born in the UK and have been raised in an environment that was Congolese at home and British outside of that. I interpret my feelings and preoccupation with these themes through writing. Creating text-based work articulates my experience as a black person in the UK and my journey of understanding origin, race, and its intersection with British culture. I use a range of processes such as drawing, painting, and collaging to compose pieces that make references to my everyday life here in Britain, crossing cultures through the use of hand type, inspired by Congolese shop fronts, to create work that reflects my identity and viewpoint as an artist affected by the history of diaspora.
www.joymiessi.com @joymiessi​

This event has been provided by Tate Gallery on behalf of Tate Enterprises LTD

Tate Modern

Southwark Room, Blavatnik Building L5

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit

Date & Time

23 September 2017 at 12.00–18.00

Sponsored by

The J Isaacs Charitable Trust