Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Christabel Johanson

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Black Sound Exhibition London


Even now the ‘black sound’ is a constantly energetic and evolving creature. With more and more cross-genre records being dropped across Dance and Pop regularly there is little doubt that black music is the mainstream sound and market leader across the Western world.

Christabel Johanson on Black Music in the UK
Poster exhibition Black Sound

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Jean-Michel Basquiat and New York

BOOMJean-Michel Basquiat, Self Portrait, 1984, Provate colelction_preview

Basquiat was educated by New York which quite literally became his canvas and eventually also his coffin.(….) Basquiat’s life, work and death mirrored New York’s own cycle of growth, destruction and rebirth and is so linked to it that his reputation is almost as notorious as the city itself.

Two quotes from this essay of Christabel Johanson on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s exhibition in The Barbican Centre in London
Self Portrait, 1984 (Private collection)
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Oh the Horror: Black Characters in Scary Movies


Horror is often cited as the genre that reflects our deepest, darkest and most base fears and this is why it is the rawest platform to explore society. The best films evoke the visceral, emotional and mental demons that reside within us and as such it is clear that race is a demon that still frightens society. The catch is that ‘society’ has meant white society and so the threat of the Other has always been present. Therefore the two-dimensional, reductive portrayals of black and minority characters have endured.

Christabel Johanson on Black Characters in Scary Movies
Still from ‘Get Out’, 2017

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Soul of a Nation: Tate Modern London

To this end, the one thing all 150 pieces in the exhibition have in common is the unwavering belief that somehow their existence would bring black people out of the cultural, political and social quagmire they were trapped in, and in doing so move them closer to the promise of equality.

Christabel Johanson visited the Soul of a Nation exhibition in Tate Modern in London.
David Hammons, Injustice Case, 1970.

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