Vanley Burke By the Rivers of Birminam (2012)

Morris, Lynda Vanley Burke By the Rivers of Birminam (2012). [Show/Exhibition]


This exhibition of Vanley Burke’s 100 photographs of the Jamaican Community in Handsworth from 1960 to 2011 was curated by Morris, who also compiled a substantial text from press stories about the Birmingham Jamaican Community 1954-2008 for the exhibition catalogue, covering prejudice in housing, jobs, schooling, health services and the police. The exhibition of Burke’s photographs showed the bonding of Caribbean families, survivors of the journeys from Africa and slavery. The raw files collated from newspapers by Morris are now being circulated around Birmingham Schools. Eddie Chambers, Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Texas, Austin and from the Jamaican community in Birmingham, was invited to write the introduction to the catalogue. Morris and Chambers’ earlier research was published in ‘British Art in a Century of Immigration’ Third Text 15 (1991). This research has been instrumental in Morris’s development of ‘Picasso Peace and Freedom’ and ‘Picasso: Modernity and Africa 1944-73’. Working with Burke enabled Morris to discuss her research with West Indian artists and participants in the ‘BLK Art Group Conference’, University of Wolverhampton (27 October 2012), which was integrated with the Burke exhibition. Morris and Burke presented the ideas underpinning the research in an exhibition film produced by MAC (2012). The research was informed by early exhibitions curated by Morris of Eugene Palmer, Maxine Walker, Mary Evans, Uzo Egonu, Yinka Shonibare, Hurvin Anderson, Hew Locke, Harold Offah, Barbara Walker and Jannette Parris. Keith Piper selected ‘EASTinternational 2000’ and Morris worked with Piper to select the New Art West Midlands exhibition for Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Barber Institute of Fine Art Birmingham University and Grand Union (15 February to 19 May 2013). Mark Steele’s Radio 4 City Programme (October 2012) focused on Handsworth, featuring Burke as a guide and using stories from Morris’s newspaper compilation.

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