Growing A House, 2019

Permindar Kaur: Locating a ‘Black’ Artist in Narratives of British Art in the 1990s

Dr. Alice Correia

Speaking at a conference in October 2016, Permindar Kaur asked, ‘Am I a Black artist?’ To be regarded as a ‘Black artist’ or not to be: what are the consequences for the trajectory of an artist’s career; our understanding of the aesthetic affects of that artist’s work; and their historicization within narratives of British art? This essay argues that the question of Kaur’s ‘Blackness’, whether self-defined or perceived by others, has had significant implications for the ways in which her artworks have been interpreted and historicized. Following Stuart Hall’s essay ‘Black Diaspora Artists in Britain: Three “Moments” in Post-War History’, this essay examines specific moments – artworks and their display – in Permindar Kaur’s career, and their ‘periodization’ – interpretation and positioning – within a wider curatorial and art-historical narration of the Black anti-racist art agenda of the 1980s, and the Cool Britannia multiculturalism and nationalist Scottish Miracle narratives of the 1990s. Presenting Kaur as a case study, this essay provides insight into the challenges of narration faced by artists of colour.
Published in Art History Journal June 2021, pg 604 -623
ISSN 0141-6790 (print)
ISSN 1467-8365 (on-line)
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