Gender and Sexuality Research Group Seminar

Black Masculinities and Contemporary Art in Britain

Speakers: Dr Alice Correia (Independent) and Dr Elizabeth Robles (University of Bristol)

How has contemporary art reimagined Black masculinities in Britain? The Courtauld’s Gender & Sexuality Research Group welcome Dr Alice Correia (Independent) and Dr Elizabeth Robles (Bristol University) to speak about their research into gender, race and visual culture (followed by a Q&A). Paper abstracts below:

Dr Alice Correia, ‘From Social Problem to Superhero: Some Thoughts on Black Masculinity in the 1980s and 90s’

In his 1991 exhibition catalogue, Step into the Arena: Notes of Black Masculinity & The Contest of Territory, Keith Piper wrote an incisive essay identifying a series of stereotypical tropes that framed the representation of Black men during the 1980s. I will consider Piper’s essay and the hyper-visible blackness of public figures including Lenny Henry, in relation to the work of Piper and Donald Rodney. I will then consider how Piper’s observations might contextualise Chris Ofili’s Captain Shit series made in the late 1990s.

Dr Elizabeth Robles,  ‘Space and Stereotype: Faisal Abdu’Allah’s I Wanna Kill Uncle Sam Cause He Ain’t My Mutherfuckin’ Uncle (1993)’

Produced in collaboration with the London-based rap group Scientists of Sound, Faisal Abdu’Allah’s 1993 series I Wanna Kill Uncle Sam Cause He Ain’t My Mutherfuckin’ Uncle plays with the tensions of space, place, self-representation and stereotype. In this session, we will consider the ways in which Abdu’Allah draws on the early 1990s Trans-Atlantic hip hop scene to interrogate the construction of the racist spectre of the violent, young black man.

Dr Alice Correia is an independent art historian. Her research examines late twentieth-century British art, with a specific focus on artists of African, Caribbean, and South Asian heritage. She is currently Research Curator at Touchstones Rochdale, working on a major project examining the exhibition programme of Rochdale Art Gallery during the 1980s; is undertaking a Decolonising the Archive Research Residency at University of the Arts Decolonising Arts Institute, examining the archival trace of South Asian women artists; and is Chair of Trustees of Third Text and co-Chair of the British Art Network’s Black British Art Research GroupHer articles and reviews have appeared in Art History; British Art Studies; and Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art.

Dr Elizabeth Robles is a researcher and Lecturer in Contemporary Art in the History of Art Department at the University of Bristol. She is particularly interested in the formation of ideas around “black art” across the twentieth century and is currently a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow working on a project entitled “Making Waves: Black Artists & ‘Black Art’ in Britain from 1962–1982”.

Organised by Edwin Coomasaru (The Courtauld) and Rachel Warriner (The Courtauld). 

5:00pm, 4 May 2021

5pm - 6pm BST

Free, booking essential

Booking closes 30 minutes before the event start time
If you do not receive the log in details on the day of the event, please email


Two men in montaged artwork
Keith Piper, 'Step into the Arena', 1991, exhibition private view invitation card, Amiga montaged artwork, Rochdale Art Gallery.

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