The Caribbean Artists Movement & It’s Legacy


ICF hosted a day-long salon discussion with key members of CAM and artists and curators representing a new Caribbean movement in the UK. The event was held at Tate Britain on 29 March 2017. 

Panel One: The Caribbean Artist Movement
Panel Two: Artist & Curators Exploring Contemporary Caribbean Narratives

George Lamming famously observed that it was in the UK that he and other intellectuals of the Windrush generation first “became Caribbean.” It was the place where island peoples found one another and reflected on their shared experiences in the face of an often-harsh reception in their ‘mother country.’ In the ensuing decades, reflections on expressions of selfhood both as a sense of individual identity, nationhood, regional integration and as part of an expanded diaspora have ranged from the personal to the political, from the introspective reflection to the protest march.

In the 1950s and 1960s, England was the place where artists came together from the newly formed “Commonwealth”. One crucial gathering was the formation of the Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM) in London in 1966. An important moment that influenced events in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Like the Harlem Renaissance that emerged in New York during the 1920s and 1930s, CAM was a diverse collection of writers, critics and artists who were interested in developing a modern Caribbean aesthetic -an aesthetic that explored colonial histories as well as defining a newly formed black British identity.

The past 60 years in Britain has seen a transformation in art. This salon day event will look at how some of the key themes exhibitions and artists from the Caribbean has played an important role in that period.

Participants included:

Anne Walmsley – World respected scholar on the Caribbean whose key works include The Caribbean Artists Movement 1966-1972 and Art in the Caribbean: An Introduction
Paul Dash – Artist, educator and writer who attended CAM meetings and participated in CAM exhibitions. Known for his seminal work in art education in the UK
Errol Lloyd – Artist, writer, art critic, editor and arts administrator. An active member of CAM and a pioneer in the UK Black art movement
Lynn Parotti – London-based Bahamian artist whose landscapes explore the theme of migration, folklore and diaspora
Michael McMillian – Writer, dramatist, artist/curator known for his landmark interdisciplinary mixed media installations such as ‘The West Indian Front Room’.
Graeme Evelyn – A multimedia visual artist, musician and curator – whose varied body of work comments on cultural social identity, politics and language.
Kat Anderson – Curator and producer interested in telling stories of underrepresented members of the black diaspora. Co-curated with Graeme Evelyn the exhibition ‘Jamaican Pulse: Art and Politics from Jamaica and the Diaspora’ in Bristol.

Chaired and moderated by ICF Artistic Director David A. Bailey