1989 This is Tomorrow: de-canonisation and decolonisation

The pivotal year of 1989 has become a coda of political turbulence and art history, marking an emergence of curatorial and programmatic interventions in the making of multiple histories. The 1989 Collective have investigated formations of events to understand how ideas permeate and are circulated between artistic agencies and solidarities across geographical spaces.

In association with The Courtauld Institute of Art, the 1989 Collective present 1989 – This is Tomorrow, a one-day international conference that brings, for the first time, curators, founders and artists into dialogue with art critics and historians from three seminal exhibitions organised and curated in three different geographic spaces: The Third Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba; The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-War Britain, Hayward Gallery, London; and In Visible Colours – An International Women of Colour and Third World Women Film/ Video Festival and Symposium, Vancouver, Canada, to offer an overarching account of an under-researched narrative.

The extraordinary and important accomplishments of these three events remain central to the de-centring of dominant art historical narratives of the late twentieth century. In addressing the contested notion of western modernity, 1989 Collective foreground the demands of decolonisation and de-canonisation by diasporic people of colour and indigenous people to ask, how are these art historical events meaningful acts in the current-day? How does the contribution transfer and/or appropriation of this discourse happen in the de-centring of dominant art historical narratives of the late twentieth century? These discussions help to throw light on the path forward as some of the central concerns of the 1980s have reappeared, albeit in a different form in the present times.

The 1989 Collective is comprised of Dr Janice Cheddie, Jasmine Chohan, Shaheen Merali and Narendra Pachkhede.

Image: Permission granted by artist Sonia Boyce for The Other Story, poster, Published by the Hayward Gallery; Copyright: Nora Patrich poster design for In Visible Colours—An International Women of Colour and Third World Women Film/Video Festival and Symposium, from Zainub Verjee’s archives; copyright remains with 3rd Havana Biennial catalogue, October 27 – Dec. 31 1989. Published by Editorial Letras Cubanas

Organised by The 1989 Collective – Dr Janice Cheddie, Jasmine Chohan, Shaheen Merali and Narendra Pachkede – and Professor Julian Stallabrass (The Courtauld Institute of Art)


Saturday 9 November




Opening remarks: Shaheen Merali, Jasmine Chohan and Janice Cheddie (The 1989 Collective)



In Visible Colours, Vancouver (1989), Chair: Dr Janice Cheddie (The 1989 Collective)

Keynote Speaker – Zainub Verjee: Experiment in Solidarity: Third cinema, women and birth of an aesthetic—the visible histories of In Visible Colours (1989).


Coffee Break


Panel 1: The 3rd Havana Biennial (1989) Chair: Jasmine Chohan (The Courtauld)

Speakers: Gerardo Mosquera: Worlding Art: The Havana Biennial; Shaheen Merali: Cuba Libre 2: Black and Asian Artists participation at the Third Havana Biennial 


Lunch break



Panel 2: REvisiting The Other Story, London (1989) Chair: Dr.Janice Cheddie

Speakers: Keith Piper: Pathways to the 1980s: Personal perspectives on the conjunction of elements shaping creative practice into the1980s; Kumiko ShimizuWhat is Utopia?


Refreshment break.


Panel 3: After 1989, De-colonisation and what else? Chair: Professor Julian Stallabrass (The  Courtauld)

Speakers: Narendra Pachkhede: Colour disquiet, Brown Abstraction: residue or spill over—an inquiry into the conceptual politics of colour and its future; Rehana Zaman: Ancestral Knowledge, Uncertain territories.


Closing remarks: 1989 Collective



Drinks reception (Research Forum Seminar Room)

10:00am, 9 Nov 2019

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square, Penton Rise, King’s Cross, London