Curated with an earnest agenda and a deft hand by Hammad Nasar with Kate Jesson, “Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition” at the Manchester Art Gallery (MAG) featured over 70 works drawn primarily from public collections in Manchester and Bradford, some of which had not been viewed by the public since their accession. Based on research led by the Black Artists & Modernism (BAM) project and its National Collections Audit, which examined the collecting practices of museums and galleries across the United Kingdom, the exhibition sought to uncover artworks by sidelined Black-British artists (defined as artists of African, Asian and Middle Eastern descent), presenting them alongside more established artists of color and thoughtfully integrating them into the broader narrative of British art history.
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Image: Helen Petts, Space and Freedom, 2018, still from digital film with sound: 22 min 17 sec. Copyright Helen Petts. Courtesy Manchester Art Gallery, Arts Council England and the Li Yuan-chia Foundation.