Duppy Conqueror and the Barber’s Chair

Tuesday 27 February, 7.00 – 8.30pm

Autograph ABP

London, UK


A panel of distinguished guests from mental health and cultural sectors, chaired by arts and health practitioner Errol Francis, will debate issues relating to the cultural significance of the barbershop, which in recent years has been the subject of increasing attention from artists, public health and social researchers. It has also been the subject of mental health-related research, which has investigated whether the barbershop could be a therapeutic space.

Join us for this event which will probe these assumptions from the point of view of artistic, social, political and psychiatric discourses, which have increasingly focused on the barbershop as a space in which different interventions can be made as well as a space for performing different modes of masculinity.

More about the event

This event is a response to Faisal Abdu’Allah’s exhibition the Duppy Conqueror and Other Works, which is currently showing at Autograph ABP. Abdu’Allah’s exhibition features a gold plated barber’s chair and clippers, which touches on the mediation of intimacy and vulnerability between men. In these two new sculptural works, both commissioned by Autograph ABP, the artist’s studio and the barber’s salon are formally joined as ‘indistinguishable spaces of cultural activity and as sites for new reflections’. Gold-plated, evocatively lit and installed in a discrete gallery room painted black, these life-size works refer to the importance of the barbershop as a gathering place for black men, where an exchange of news and views occurs, a space in which to come of age and a rite of passage, as well as where intimacy and vulnerability between men are possible.

Abdu’Allah maintains a profession as a barber alongside his artistic and academic practice,.The ritual of cutting and cultivating hair informs his work  – alongside the role black hair performs in foregrounding cultural difference, and the proliferation of storytelling throughout the process – that provides a means by which to bring these two different worlds together.


Dr Errol Francis is an artist, curator and former mental health activist. He was formerly head of arts at the Mental Health foundation and Director of the Anxiety Arts Festival 2014 and consultant to the Big Anxiety Festival, Sydney 2017. He is currently chief executive of Culture& and Director of the curatorial group PS/Y and visiting professor in arts and health at the University of London. Errol has co-curated the Duppy Conqueror and Barber’s Chair with Autograph ABP and will chair the event.

Rotimi Akinsete is a therapeutic counsellor and clinical supervisor with extensive experience in community and NHS counselling services. He is founder and director of Black Men on the Couch, a special interest project focusing on psychotherapy and identity politics of African and Caribbean men and boys. Rotimi formerly held a post as service lead for adolescent counselling for the North East London (NHS) Foundation Trust where he managed a large team dealing with diverse and challenging issues and has worked as an independent facilitator, trainer and advisor on various transformational leadership programmes. Rotimi has sat on a number of panels around the subject of counselling and psychotherapy and has conducted several workshops. Rotimi is currently the Director of Wellbeing at the University of Surrey.

Cauline Brathwaite is an Independent Consultant and mental health activist and was formerly a senior manager at the Mind anti stigma programme, A Time To Change. She coordinated a programme entitled Black Hair and Wellbeing in 2015, which included a hair clinic and an exhibition of photographs from the Autograph ABP Collection, e.g. James Barnor and Rotimi Fani-Kayode and a screening of Menelik Shabazz’s Burning An Illusion.

Daniel Kelly (b. 1981) is director of DKUK an ACE funded project. He has exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, Somerset House, Ancient and Modern, French Rivera, Outpost, Norwich and Matt’s Gallery. His work The Pirates of Carthage was performed on Resonance FM, was funded by the Elephant Trust. He has work in the Saatchi collection and is a former associate of Open School East.

Our Events

Autograph ABP's events are very popular, and often sell out quickly. We recommend booking a ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

To find out first about upcoming events, join our events announcements on our mailing list >


Autograph ABP
Rivington Place
London EC2A 3BA

View on Google Maps >

The entrance is on the side of the building. We are fully accessible.

We are located in the heart of Shoreditch, a short walk from Old Street, Liverpool Street and Shoreditch High Street stations.
Buses: 26, 43, 48, 55, 67, 149, 205, 242 and 271