For her first solo show in the UK, Russian-Ghanaian artist Liz Johnson Artur presents a new body of work alongside photographs selected from her substantial archive of images documenting the lives of people from the African diaspora.
For more than three decades Artur has taken photographs across Europe, America, Africa and the Caribbean, in an ongoing project she calls the Black Balloon Archive. This solo show focuses on London, where she has lived since 1991, capturing the richness and complexity of Black British life.
Artur transforms the high-ceilinged Main Gallery with a series of four hanging and floor-based bamboo cane structures. Each hosts a body of images taken across the city, including in Peckham Rye, black-majority churches, non-binary club nights as well as a still life section Artur calls Library. These images are printed at various sizes, using both traditional photographic techniques onto paper as well as application to fabric, tracing paper and cardboard.
The structures act as a flexible backdrop for an integrated programme of events, in which Artur will invite artists working across music, poetry, dance and theatre to create intergenerational collaboration, performance and discussion.
Artur’s exhibition at the South London Gallery follows her first museum show, opening in May 2019 at the Brooklyn Museum, New York.
Liz Johnson Artur (b. 1964, Bulgaria) lives and works in London. For over three decades, her work has documented the lives of black people from across the African Diaspora. She has exhibited internationally, including group exhibitions at Serpentine Galleries, London, UK; David Nolan Gallery, New York, USA; The Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK; Kunstverein Leipzig, Germany; the 10th Berlin Biennale; and a forthcoming solo exhibition at Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA. Her monograph with Bierke Verlag was listed by The New York Times in ‘Best Photo Books 2016’. In 2017 she was nominated for the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize.