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Past Imperfect Future Tense

Solo show at The Black-Art Gallery. 1984
Date: 7 June, 1984 until 22 July, 1984
Curator: Shakka Dedi
Organiser: The Black-Art Gallery

First solo exhibition by Keith Piper, held at The Black-Art Gallery, London, which had opened in the autumn of the previous year. From the exhibition publicity: “At the age of 23, Keith Piper is a member of the latest wave of emerging Black visual artists committed to the belief that their work should respond to the social and political realities of the Black condition. More specifically, he is one of a small group who - in an attempt to discover a more relevant and responsive role for their work - overtly rebelled against the eurocentric aesthetic individualism favoured within the various art schools they attended. Teaming up in 1981, in what was to become ‘THE BLK ART GROUP’, they operated as a fluctuating line up of young Black artists…”

Publicity material for the exhibition also featured a quote from Piper himself. “My work is principally concerned with politics - a fact for which I can make no apologies, as the very existence of Black people in this, the founding fatherland of imperialism - is political. Dominated as it is by forces cultural, historical, economic and social which have shaped us, but have not been shaped by us.”

The exhibition was typical of Piper’s work at the time. Bold, striking mixed media work characterised by a dynamic drawing style and a resourceful, considered use of assorted materials. The exhibition catalogue, poster and Private View card for the exhibition featured a montage of the infamous plan of a slave ship, the Brookes of Liverpool, contrasted with a repeated image of a South African schoolboy caught up in the Soweto uprisings of mid 1970s South Africa. The exhibition, and its attendant publicity was reflective of Piper’s original approach to visual art, and his profound ability to creatively, convincingly and engagingly cite international and historical influences in his work.

Related items

click to show details of Past Imperfect Future Tense Private View card

»  Past Imperfect Future Tense Private View card

Invite relating to an exhibition, 1984

People in this exhibition

»  Keith Piper

Born, 1960 in Malta

Exhibition venues

»  The Black-Art Gallery

London, United Kingdom