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

Hayward Gallery, 29 November 1989 – 4 February 1990

By Hayward Gallery

Poster for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 (1989) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

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.

Ronald Moody, L'homme (1937). Installation view: The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989. Photo: John Webb (1989) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

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’.

Catalogue for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 (1989) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

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.’

Rasheed Araeen, L-R: Chakras (1969-1970), 8bS (1970), Green Painting (1985-6), Sculpture No. 1 (1965). Installation view: The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989. Photo: John Webb (1989) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

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.

Foreground: Li Yuan Chia, Floating Disc Toy (1968-9) and Mushroom Toy (1969). Background: Rasheed Araeen, 8bS (1970). Installation view: The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989. Photo: John Webb (1989) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

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.

Early Exhibition Proposal for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 Early Exhibition Proposal for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 (1989) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

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.

Exhibition Proposal for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 Exhibition Proposal for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 (1989) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

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 at the Arts Council on The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 Notes from a Meeting at the Arts Council on The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 (1986) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

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

Letter of Invitation to Artists in The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 Letter of Invitation to Artists in The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 (1987) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Letter of invitation to artists involved in the exhibition.

Press Release for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 Press Release for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 (1989) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Exhibition press release.

Exhibition Guide for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 Exhibition Guide for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 (1989) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Exhibition guide.

Installation views: The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989. Photo: John Webb (1989) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Installation views: The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989. Photo: John Webb (1989) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Installation views: The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989. Photo: John Webb (1989) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

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

List of Works for The Other Story: Asian, African and Caribbean Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery List of Works for The Other Story: Asian, African and Caribbean Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery (1989) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

The Other Story list of works.

Press Cutting for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 (1989)Hayward Gallery

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.

Press Cutting for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 (1989)Hayward Gallery

Press Cutting for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989Hayward Gallery

Press Cutting for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989Hayward Gallery

Press Cutting for The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989 (1989)Hayward Gallery

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