LITTLE GEM

The Black Chronicles is a small but so very interesting exhibition of portraits never seen in Britain before. Some of the pictures were “rediscovered” in 2014 in the Hulton Archives, where they had been carefully stored for over 125 years.

The National Portrait Gallery exhibition covers the period from 1862, date of the 1st picture

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of Sarah Davies’s who became one of Queen Victoria’s protégées, to 1948, date of the arrival of the Empire Windrush, which marks the start of the modern immigration of Blacks and Asians to Britain.

Through all the portraits, you see how long and complex the history of Black and Asian lives in Britain really was and still is. In the words of the curator, Renee Mussai, the exhibition “builds a different portrait of Britain by creating a new narrative to reinsert Black figures in British history“.

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We saw a diversity of experiences of people who
*were born in Britain
*passed through Britain
*came to stay in Britain

as illustrated by

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Samuel Coleridge-Taylor – 1st Black British Composer
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Peter Jackson – boxing champion
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Dhuleep Singh – Royal in Exile

What summarizes the exhition for me was the sentence in the first of the three rooms which read “they are here because you were there”…

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