The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-war Britain

Hayward Gallery

Hayward Gallery, 29 November 1989 – 4 February 1990

This seminal exhibition – devised and selected by artist, writer, editor and curator Rasheed Araeen – celebrated the contribution of artists from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean to art in post-war Britain, and to modernism.

The Other Story was deliberately not an academic or objective history. Instead, it was curated by an artist who declared himself to be ‘wholly involved in the story’.

In the foreword to the exhibition catalogue, Hayward Gallery Director Joanna Drew argued that, for this reason, the exhibition had ‘more fire, more tension, even more awkwardness than a conventional survey or anthology.’

The exhibition, which took place across the entire Hayward Gallery, was divided into four thematic sections: In the Citadel of Modernism; Taking the Bull by the Horns; Confronting the System; and Recovering Cultural Metaphors.

Twenty-four artists took part in the exhibition, among them Sonia Boyce, Mona Hatoum, Lubaina Himid, Iqbal Geoffrey, David Medalla and Keith Piper. Of the 24 artists, only four were women – a weighting that Araeen was criticised for.

The Other Story was a long time in the making: Rasheed Araeen first proposed a version of the exhibition to the Arts Council in 1978.

In 1986, the Arts Council finally accepted the exhibition, and an advisory committee – consisting of painters Balraj Khanna and Aubrey Williams, art critic Richard Cork and David Thompson – was established to assist with the selection.

Notes from a meeting on The Other Story, with Rasheed Araeen, Balraj Khanna, Aubrey Williams and David Thompson.

Letter of invitation to artists involved in the exhibition.

Exhibition press release.

Exhibition guide.

After the Hayward Gallery showing, which received 24,149 visitors, a version of the exhibition toured to venues in Manchester and Wolverhampton.

The Other Story list of works.

As these reviews show, much of the press response to the Hayward Gallery showing was hostile and inflammatory. In the years since the exhibition, The Other Story has received a significant reappraisal.

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