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Roots to Reckoning archive

Roots to Reckoning archive - Important Afro-Caribbean photographic archive acquired for Museum of London with Art Fund help.

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An archive charting London’s Afro-Caribbean history was acquired by the Museum of London.


Press Release:

As Black History month commences, independent charity The Art Fund announces the Museum of London’s acquisition of an important photographic archive charting London’s Afro-Caribbean history. The Roots to Reckoning archive comprises 90 photographs of London’s black community in the 1960s – 80s by three leading Jamaican-born photographers, Armet Francis, Charlie Philips and Neil Kenlock.

Earlier this year, new prints from the original negatives were produced by the Museum of London and these have now been acquired from the photographers for a total of £23,625, of which The Art Fund contributed £7,875.

The photographs were first displayed together in 2005 at the Museum of London’s Roots to Reckoning exhibition, which celebrated the pioneering work of all three photographers and highlighted how they helped shape a sense of identity for black Londoners. The works were also published in the accompanying catalogue.

Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund, said: “With its snapshots of carnival performers and pop stars, priests and protestors, children and students, the Roots to Reckoning archive charts the activity, energy and vibrancy of London’s Afro-Caribbean community over a period of great change. It is wonderful news that the Museum of London has acquired the collection, allowing visitors to enjoy and learn from the full scope of these images, in the city they were created.

Mike Seaborne, Senior Curator of Photographs at Museum of London, said: “Many of these photographs were taken in the sixties, seventies and early eighties and have never really been shown to the public in any substantial way, other than our 2005 exhibition. They are a key record of London and particularly Afro-Caribbean Londoners and thus act both as an historical witness as well as recognition of a fundamental part of London culture. This is why we have chosen some of the images to hang in our new Galleries of Modern London opening in Spring 2010.

For more information please visit the Museum of London website.

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