Category Archives: Exhibition

From Pop Art to Community Arts

‘Warhol to Walker’ Exhibition Launch – Thursday July 13th 6-7.30pm

This special exhibition explores the influence print movements have had on Hackney. Starting with the explosion of pop art in the 1960s, the exhibition displays works on loan from the British Museum by celebrated artists including Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Kara Walker alongside Hackney artists.

To support the show, Fragile Archivists contributed silk-screen posters from the Chats Palace Archive as well as made a film ‘From Pop Art to Community Arts: Hackney in the 1970s-80s’.

Pop Art Exhibition launch

 

The film is displayed at the Hackney Museum from 11 July till 16 September 2017.
Once the exhibition is over, the film will be available online. Watch this space!

We can’t thank enough our interviewees, the most wonderful Hackney activists, artists and researchers – Jess Baines, Neil Martinson, Alan May, Ingrid Pollard, Red Saunders, Rene Rice and Rebecca Wilson.

From Pop Art to Community Arts

© Asya Gefter

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The Pepper and The Palace

Fragile Archivists would like to wish everyone all the best for 2016 – the 40th anniversary of the start of Chats Palace.

Look out for our anniversary exhibition later this year. In the meantime here is this month’s Red Pepper magazine’s feature on 40 years of Chats Palace (click on the link to read the full article)!

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Available half-price from Chats Palace!

The story so far …

Visit our new page of Exhibitions and Talks and don’t forget that ‘Mike Gray – In Black and White’ photography exhibition is at Chats Palace bar throughout the Summer 2015 as well as the ‘Photographer Unknown’ next door in Chats gallery. Have a lovely Summer!

Mike Gray - In Black and White

Not a cupcake class in sight

Enlarged Lives – an exhibition of feminist related original silk screen posters is now on the walls of Chats Palace bar. Fragile Archivists invited Jess Baines, a researcher and member of See Red Women’s Workshop, to reflect on the experience of the womens movement during the 1980’s. Here is her response.

Collectively and individually these few posters provide wonderfully suggestive clues to some of the feminist and lesbian cultural activity of 1980’s London, as well as to the context in which it took place. Most of this activity had been set in motion a decade earlier as part of the women’s movement desire to come together and unravel the limitations of our own lives, not just through talking and protest, but creatively through writing, image making and performance.
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Women’s theatre groups for example had begun forming in the early 1970’s, out of frustration with the dearth of roles for women, even in the growing radical theatre movement. Groups performed, not just as in the posters shown here, at community arts venues and sympathetic theatres but also in women’s refuges and hospitals.
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The Women Artists Slide Library, set up in 1976, on the other hand was part of the larger women’s art and feminist art history movements that sought to challenge women’s absence from those fields; the image used in the poster here is from a work by the Italian Baroque female painter Artemisia Gentileschi, Self Portrait as an Allegory of Painting (1690’s).
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Photography became a crucial medium in recording women’s lives, and led to fascinating explorations in its domestic role, along with a growth of women’s groups, classes and exhibitions. It is hard to imagine now (perhaps) but ‘serious’ photography, because it was considered ‘technical’ was seen as a male domain.
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Technical confidence was something Lenthall Road Workshop, the feminist photography and screenprint centre, also aimed to encourage through its classes and ‘skills sharing’ approach. Women only classes gave women and girls the space to muck about and learn without hindrance.
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Lenthall Road was also part of the growth of feminist work with young women and girls, hinted at here by the poster they printed for Stoke Newington Girls Festival. Note the activities; motorbikes, self-defence, pool… Not a cupcake class in sight.
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Some of the posters also point to the development of women’s movement discussions and practices around ‘inclusion’. From the lines ‘all women welcome’, and ‘crèche facilities’, to the logo for wheelchair access, and the image of black and white hands on the Lesbian Strength & Gay Pride poster, there are signs of larger movement debates about participation, access and representation.

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With regard to iconography, it’s interesting that the once ubiquitous ‘women’s symbol’ doesn’t appear at all. Doubled (or tripled for lesbian ‘non-monogamy’), along with the double-headed axe, it had been part of the ‘lesbian symbol’. But on the aforementioned poster it’s the newer black triangle that’s used, adopted in the 1980’s as a counterpart to the pink triangle of gay rights and pride. Digging into the context of this particular poster would open up a 1980’s history of both a separation and coming together of lesbian and gay political and cultural activity. Posters from Chats Palace Printshop_10

Lesbian Strength was the name given to a series of independent marches prior to Gay Pride between 1983-88; the pride marches were felt to be male dominated and lesbians marginalised. But it was also the period when the now famous Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners was formed, the birth of the Greater London Council funded London Lesbian and Gay Centre (LLGC), and the appearance of Lesbian and Gay Units in leftist local authorities which would lead to the infamous Section 28 of 1988 and an important political coalition between lesbians and gay men to fight it. (Many lesbians continued working with gay men in the AIDS/HIV activism of the following years).

The Humanist Party poster included here, ‘Maggie wants your blood’, reminds us that all of this was taking place under the socially conservative right-wing neo-liberal politics of Thatcherism. Thatcher of course presided over a sustained attack on the left, from the dismantling of trade union power to the undermining of the ‘alternative left’, members of whom had helped shape the municipal socialism of the 1980’s and its sympathetic grant giving policies, that as the funding logos show, supported a fair few of the activities here.

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These posters offer a partial snapshot of a moment in the cultural history of the women’s movement, in a complex context of the movement’s own diversification and internal struggles, the hostile climate of 1980’s Britain, and a temporary period of institutional support. Each one of them offers a potential gateway to a rich history of political, social and cultural resistance and creativity in the pursuit of an ‘enlarged life’.

Related Links:

Jess Baines looks back at London’s printmaking workshops of the 1960s and 70s
Posters designed and printed by See Red Women’s Workshop
The Women’s Liberation Music Archive
Recording the history of Alternative Theatre, 1968-88

Photomonth Events

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Photomonth events at Chats Palace

HACKNEY FLASHERS EXPOSED

40th anniversary of a Women’s Photographic Collective

Sunday 12th October, 2pm – 5pm

FREE AND OPEN TO ALL

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The Hackney Flashers Collective was active as a feminist agitprop group in London from 1974 to 1980. The group produced two photographic/graphic exhibitions on large panels addressing complex ideas about women’s lives as workers and as mothers, inside and outside the home – Women and Work and Who’s Holding the Baby?

To mark the recent launch of the Hackney Flashers website, the group are calling a meeting of the generations: how did they work as a collective in the 1970s? How is the struggle for the most basic of women’s rights being carried on now, forty years later?
A rare chance to see some of the exhibition panels from the time too!

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Exhibition ‘Photographer Unknown’

OCTOBER 12 – DECEMBER 21

Thursday – Sunday, 12pm – 5pm

A selection from the 40 year old Chats Palace archive portraying Homerton scenes and characters through the ad hoc documentation of a group of voluntary and often uncredited photographers. Portraits range from casual snaps to more formal studies and in passing offer a glimpse of the area, within our living memory.

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Happy 100th anniversary – May 31st

Launch of poster exhibition from the Fragile Archivists

**You are welcome to see the exhibition throughout the summer and autumn – please contact www.chatspalace.co.uk for opening hours**

   

community arts / free form / chatsworth road market / kingsmead estate / music hall / inclusive theatre / homerton grove adventure playground / pensioner’s club / christmas shows / social benefits / disability arts / cabaret / gigs / political campaigns / hackney marsh fun festival / muppets / notting hill carnival / silkscreen printshop / workshops

The Monkey Stomp Blues present live and direct from the eastern corners of Norfolk the Americana folklore stylings of the Vagaband
in a rare Hackney visit – from 7pm till 11pm ‘ish

http://www.thevagaband.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/events/517657348292899/

Saturday 1st June

An exhibition of stories by pupils from Kingsmead, Daubeney and Rushmore School celebrating “The secrets of Chatsworth Road”

Storytelling workshops throughout the day – families come and celebrate
http://www.chatspalace.co.uk/whatson

Coming up in the autumn from the Fragile Archivists

a programme of screenings and talks

films about Hackney by John Smith – www.johnsmithfilms.com

Somewhere in Hackney (1980) film and discussion

‘Hackney Captured’ form the Rio Cinema projection room

Miners’ Strike, GLC abolition, the Wapping dispute and more