A Riot of Our Own
curated by Ruth Gregory, Syd Shelton,
and Carol Tulloch
02.07.08 - 02.08.08
The exhibition 'A Riot Of Our Own' looks at the Rock Against Racism (RAR) Movement of 1976-1981, through the private archive of Graphicsi -Ruth Gregory and Syd Shelton. They were RAR (London) committee members and key graphic designers of its associated material such as, the paper Temporary Hoarding, posters and stickers, badges, and illustrations. Syd photographed performers and members of the audience at RAR carnivals, gigs and demonstrations, as well as contextual social and cultural images that informed the politics of the movement, across England and Ireland. The archive is a unique repository of this pivotal period in Britain when difference was championed as empowering, anti-establishment, challenging a post-modern act, that helped to define Britain's character.
Today there are many versions of what RAR was and its legacy. The design, ephemera and photographic material kept by Ruth and Syd, provides another aspect of that historical moment which has been overlooked. Through this tangent, A Riot of our Own revisits the energy of RAR, the collective engagement with, and the offensive of, anti-racism through creative collaborations that was channelled from the design studio -to carnivals-to gigs-to tours-to demonstrations-to regional offices-to the design studio.
A Riot of Our Own is a collaborative curatorial project between Syd, Ruth and curator Carol Tulloch. As 'self-archivists' Ruth and Syd want to convey an idiosyncratic interpretation of what RAR was. Carol lends objectivity and curatorial perspectives in order for the pair to explore this. Therefore, the exhibition sets the personal recollections, 'function and storage memory in relation to one another' to present the individuals and groups who were united against racism through the amalgamation of reggae and punk music, technology and dress styles to forge a riot of their own.
An illustrated publication with text by Carol Tulloch and interviews with Ruth Gregory and Syd Shelton will accompany the exhibition.