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Pete James

Pete James, Curator of Photographs at the Library of Birmingham,  contributed a text to the catalogue for At Home with Vanley Burke, by far one of the most intriguing exhibitions to take place in recent years. It featured the bulk, if not the entirety, of the contents of Vanley Burke’s Birmingham flat being relocated and reinstalled in the Ikon Gallery. The exhibition’s dates were 22 July - 27 Sepember 2015.

From “Home from Home: The Vanley Burke Archive”, by Pete James: “Like many members of his community, Burke was reluctant to engage with public institutions, such as libraries or museums, as these were often founded on the profits of slavery. They had also, up to that moment, made little or no effort to engage with or record the contributions of the diverse ethnic communities that formed a vital and important part of the history of their adopted home. The issue of Burke’s largely hidden archive remains unresolved.”

James was well placed to reflect on the exhibition, as Burke’s archive is partly in storage at the Library of Birmingham. James’ text was illustrated by four smaller photographs, including a portrait of Burke.

Related items

click to show details of At Home with Vanley Burke

»  At Home with Vanley Burke

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2015