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Denzil Forrester Study Day

15 Jan 2020

A collaboration between Art on the Underground and Iniva

  • Venue

    Iniva

  • Address

    Banqueting Hall
    Chelsea College of Arts
    45 Millbank
    London
    SW1P 4RL

  • Date

    15 January 2020

  • Time

    12.30pm - 7pm

  • Admission

    Tickets: £5 including lunch

Study Day

12:30 – 17:30

Banqueting Hall, Chelsea College of Arts

Limited capacity and booking essential

Tickets: £5 including lunch

For nearly four decades, Denzil Forrester has evolved as a painter who experiments with light, colour and gesture, creating works that are rooted in the physicality and emotional resonance of lived experience, and which seek to evoke a sense of time, place and community.

In September 2019 Art on the Underground invited Forrester to create his first major public commission for Brixton Station. For this Forrester reinterpreted his seminal work ‘Three Wicked Men’ (1982), now in the Tate collection, into an immersive, large-scale painting. Forrester’s vibrant paintings from the early 1980s made visible what might otherwise have remained fleeting or hidden, as he documented London’s underground reggae and dub scene. Drawings he made in situ in East London nightclubs nearly forty years ago still form the basis of some of his paintings today, and Forrester often returns to memories and experiences through subjects that endure across time. The death of his friend Winston Rose in police custody in 1981 has remained with him and become a haunting presence in a number of works. More recently he has begun to look back to an earlier time, in paintings that depict his childhood in Grenada and his early days in London helping his mother sew bags in the basement of their Stoke Newington home.

This Study Day, a partnership between Art on the Underground and Iniva, aims to generate new readings of Denzil Forrester’s work, invite personal responses and inspire continuing dialogue.

Speakers include: Alvaro Barrington, artist; Osei Bonsu, Curator of International Art – Africa, Tate Modern, London; Eddie Chambers, Professor of Art History at the University of Texas, Austin; and John Lyons, poet and artist.

The day will include a screening of ‘Denzil’s Dance’ by Professor Julian Henriques, Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, which captures Forrester sketching in the dancehalls of Kingston, Jamaica during a recent trip. There will also be a chance to look at materials held on Forrester in the Stuart Hall Library and a unique opportunity to view drawings by the artist on loan from Stephen Friedman Gallery.

Denzil Forrester Study Day

In Conversation:  Denzil Forrester and Kimathi Donkor

18:00 – 19:00

Free:  booking recommended

To conclude their Study Day focused on generating new readings and inspiring continuing dialogue around Denzil Forrester’s work, Iniva and Art on the Underground have invited Denzil to be in conversation with Dr Kimathi Donkor, artist and Course Leader BA Fine Art Painting, Camberwell College of Arts.

Working primarily in paint, both Forrester and Donkor create figurative works which are often on a large scale, while drawing also forms an important part of their respective practices.  A commitment to teaching has played a central role for both artists: Forrester taught at Morley College for 30 years, while in addition to his Fine Art teaching Donkor has led a number of education projects in community settings.

For nearly four decades, Denzil Forrester has evolved as a painter who experiments with light, colour and gesture, creating works that are rooted in the physicality and emotional resonance of lived experience, and which seek to evoke a sense of time, place and community.

Kimathi Donkor’s work re-imagines mythic and legendary encounters across Africa and its global Diasporas, principally in painting, but also through drawing, video, assemblage, collage, digital design, performance and installation. Large scale paintings address historic figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture and Harriet Tubman, as well as contemporary themes such as urban political dissent or the pursuit of leisure, beauty and knowledge. ‘Some Clarity of Vision’ (2015) is a series of paintings created during a residency in South Africa, which draws on research into the country’s history, with everyday life interpreted through black heroines and religious iconography. Donkor’s body of work entitled ‘Fall/Uprising’ (2005) was created to mark 20 years since London’s urban disturbances of 1985, which had centred on the police shooting of Cherry Groce in Brixton and the deaths of Cynthia Jarrett and Keith Blakelock in Tottenham.

Denzil Forrester In Conversation

Denzil’s Forrester’s recent commission for Art on the Underground, ‘Brixton Blue’, is currently on view at Brixton Station and a new solo show opens at Nottingham Contemporary in February 2020. He is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Image: Denzil Forrester, Brixton Blue, 2019. Commissioned by Art on the Underground © Denzil Forrester. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photo by Angus Mill