Happening To Be
|WHO:||Yinka Shonibare MBE, Trevor Robinson CBE, Ngozi Onwurah, Professor Andrew Ramroop OBE and Professor Ablade Glover OBE|
|WHERE:||Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London, N1C 4AA|
|Open to the public:||Monday – Friday 10.00am – 6.00pmSaturdays 10.00am – 4.00 pm. (except – closed on 15 and 29 September.)|
|Private view:||17 October 2012, 6-8pm**by invitation only|
University of the Arts London (UAL) is proud to announce Happening to Be, its first ever exhibition showcasing the work of five distinguished artists, designers, and directors who ‘happen to be’ black.
The exhibition aims to inspire students, staff and the general public by celebrating the artistic achievements of some of the University’s black alumni.
Highlights of the Happening to Be exhibition, which is open to the public, include:
- A maquette of Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle by artist and Turner prize nominee Yinka Shonibare MBE, first unveiled on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Shonibare graduated in Fine Art at Byam Shaw College of Art in 1989, now part of Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design.
- Four prints and a compilation of broadcast videos by multi award-winning creative director and philanthropist Trevor Robinson CBE, who is responsible for the infamous Tango soft drinks commercials [during the 90’s.]. Robinson graduated from Chelsea College of Art and Design.
- Newcastle-born filmmaker Ngozi Onwurah, best known for her BAFTA award-winning film and BBC drama Shoot the Messenger. Onwurah graduated in BA Film from Saint Martins School of Art, now Central Saint Martins, in 1987.
- Saville Row master tailor Professor Andrew Ramroop OBE, showing how his incredible craftsmanship and design acumen have made him renowned as one of Britain’s most highly-respected tailors. Ramroop studied MA Tailoring at London College of Fashion, graduating in 1974.
- International artist and leading educator, Professor Ablade Glover OBE who studied Textiles at Central School of Arts and Crafts, graduating in 1962. Glover rose to become Dean of the College of Art at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in his homeland of Ghana.
Speaking about how the exhibition will challenge some of the ways we talk about race and identity, painter and exhibition curator Kimathi Donkor, said:
“Happening to Be’ has many possible associations, such as the colloquial term ‘happening’ – meaning of the zeitgeist. But the key notion is the ambiguous proposal that particular forms of ‘identity’ are purely incidental – as in, “She is great at her job, and just happens to be a woman/white/middle class/blind/43”. Are such identities ever purely incidental? How does swapping identities in such a sentence change its meaning?”
Speaking about equal opportunities for black and ethnic minority students, Yinka Shonibare MBE said:
“Colleges should actively seek to promote their college in a wider range of schools in minority areas.”
Professor Andrew Ramroop OBE added:
“I had to go the extra mile to prove my talent, as good was not good enough for a person of colour to succeed.”
University Dean of Students Mark Crawley says of the exhibition:
“We are incredibly proud that our black alumni have achieved the type of stellar success that ‘Happening to Be’ represents. But we are also keenly aware that, like most Higher Education institutions in Britain, we need to raise the average level of degree attainment among our black and minority ethnic students, which is significantly lower than that of white UK students.
“There is no disparity in talent but we need to find out why there is this disparity in achievement – this is why we are carrying out research. We are also proud to have the ‘Shades of Noir’ project which runs a range of staff, student, curriculum development, and creative and cultural sector industry engagement programmes. The University believes that greater awareness of the sheer breadth and brilliance of black achievement across the arts will help to raise expectations and broaden horizons.”
Project Manager Aisha Richards said:
“Just as the artists represented in this show have dedicated their lives to excellence in their work, so UAL, as Europe’s leading arts and design education institution, located in the world’s most ethnically diverse metropolis, is committed to providing higher education that thrives on diversity, equality and ambition.”
The Shades of Noir project is working with SUARTS (Student’s Union, University of the Arts) who will be holding their 3rd annual (open-submission) exhibition which exclusively features the work of Black students and graduates from UAL – this year it is titled Already Here. The exhibition will be taking place from 11th September – 27th October in the Window Galleries at Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design.