25 April - 20 June 2015
Street Level Photoworks
Maud Sulter (1960–2008) was an award-winning artist and writer, curator and gallerist of Ghanain and Scottish heritage who lived and worked in Britain.
Her significance lies in her pioneering innovation of photographic forms that investigated the visual representation of black women, not through the more familiar routes of documentary, but through critical inquiry into art's histories and sustained visual interrogation into the canon of western art. Her works were often preoccupied with lost and neglected figures, examining the ways that the past shapes and can remake the present.
‘She exhibited widely and represented Britain at Africus, the Johannesburg Biennale of 1995. Her art has been acquired by numerous private and public collections, including the Scottish Parliament, the Arts Council Collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Council Collection, the National Galleries of Scotland, and the National Portrait Gallery in London. She wrote several collections of poetry, and edited a pioneering collection of writings and images, Passion: Discourses on Blackwomen’s Creativity. This was published by the imprint she founded, Urban Fox Press, ‘a revolutionary new press for the more radical 90s’. She was active in the Black feminist and lesbian movements, often inspired by African-American activists, artists and writers. She curated nearly 20 exhibitions, and set up a gallery, Rich Women of Zurich in London’s Clerkenwell.’ - Deborah Cherry ‘Putting Black Women in the Centre of the Frame’
This exhibition includes key chapters in her multilayered photographic art practice: works from the critically acclaimed Zabat (1990), and for the first time since their initial exhibitions across Britain, several works from each of the projects Hysteria, Syrcas and Les Bijoux. This represents the first detailed examination and exhibition of Sulter’s work since 2003, with exclusive and unique access by the curators to the Sulter archive, which has remained closed to public viewing or research since the artists death in 2008. It also draws upon some individual private collections, as well as the works in the public holdings of Harris Museum and Art Gallery (Preston), The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum, and City Arts Centre, Edinburgh.
This exhibition is an Autograph ABP / Street Level Photoworks partnership, in association with TrAIN (Transnational Art and Nation) and is the outcome of a curatorial research project by Deborah Cherry, Professor of Art History at the University of the Arts London, and Deputy Director of TrAIN, and artist and curator Ajamu, funded by Arts Council England.
This exhibition features as part of the IPS Season of Photography 2015 - a lively series of exhibitions and events taking place throughout Scotland from April to September.