Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art 1950s – Now



ISBN: 9781849767651 Category:

Alex Farquharson, David A Bailey


This fascinating book traces the connection between Britain and the Caribbean in the visual arts from the 1950s to today, a social and cultural history more often told through literature or popular music. With its multi-generational perspective, it reveals that the Caribbean connection in British art is one of the richest facets of art in Britain since
the Second World War, and is a lens through which to understand the Caribbean diasporic experience in all its social, cultural, psychological and political complexities across generations.

Featuring around 40 artists – among them Aubrey Williams, Frank Bowling, Althea McNish, Donald Locke, Sonia Boyce, Isaac Julien, Black Audio Film Collective, Lubaina Himid, Peter Doig, Chris Ofili, Steve McQueen, Alberta Whittle, and many more – it includes a variety of works mostly by UK-based African-Caribbean artists, but also by artists who were not originally from the Caribbean but who relocated there or have made important work about it. Arranged chronologically it sheds light on a number of themes such as Caribbean modernism, social and political struggles, subculture and its policing, the front room as a private and public space, after-images of slavery and the Middle Passage, and syncretic and creolised metaphor and allegory (carnival, folklore, new world religions). Readers will find themselves charting a course between two worlds: London or other urban localities in the UK and images of formerly British Caribbean nations.

With contributions by a variety of authors, including Paul Gilroy and fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner, Oceans Apart presents post-war British art history in its global and transnational dimensions, and reveals how these were shaped by the struggle against Empire and its legacies.

Additional information

Weight 1564 g
Dimensions 21.8 x 27.2 cm
Publisher name Tate Publishing
Publication date 31 March 2022
Number of pages 192
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 21.8 x 27.2 cm
Weight 1564 g


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Alex Farquharson is the Director of Tate Britain and leads on conceiving and delivering the museum's artistic programme.