Masterclass with Anna Arabindan-Kesson

Tuesday 14 August 2018, 10am-1pm
Institute of Advanced Studies, UWA
Postgraduate Students, Early Career Researchers, Academics, Professional Researchers


Ingrid Pollard, Regarding The Frame, 2013

Ingrid Pollard,
Regarding The Frame, 2013

Mining Memory: Ingrid Pollard’s photographic formations

An IAS masterclass with Anna Arabindan-Kesson, Assistant Professor of Black Diasporic Art, Princeton University.

Since the early eighties British artist Ingrid Pollard has been exploring the relationship between historical imaginaries and the representation of place, the ecological effects of land use and experiences of living and working in the British countryside. She deploys a variety of photographic techniques and compositional devices that puts her work in conversation with a canon of British art from which many Black British artists have been sidelined. Born in Guyana, raised in London, Pollard’s photographs are unique for their attention to the rural landscape and the place of Black and Brown bodies within it. In particular Pollard’s work is deeply engaged with the landscape’s hidden histories and the implications of these absences for contemporary experiences of the environment. The relationship between place and constructions of race take physical form, as she grapples with and makes connections between the process of uncovering or excavating history and the experience of being, working and walking in the land. This masterclass will examine her photographic practice and the ways it responds to the geological formations of the landscape alongside nineteenth-century landscape art, the politics of immigration and art making in 1980s Britain as well as more recent interventions that focus on the presence and experience of Black people in the British countryside. By articulating what photography means for Pollard, and its relationship to her deep commitment to environmental action, we’ll trace how conceptions of landscape in her work become a mode of connection across multiple chronologies and disparate spaces. And we’ll also consider how her work grapples with multiple forms of ‘mining’ – as metaphor and process – to reflect on contemporary conceptualizations of value in the work of Black diasporic artists. 

Suggested readings:

Anna Arabindan-Kesson is an Assistant Professor of Black Diasporic Art with a joint appointment in the Departments of African American Studies and Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. Born in Sri Lanka, she completed her first undergraduate degree in New Zealand and worked as a Registered Nurse in Australia and the UK before completing her BA (Hons) at UWA and her PhD in African American Studies and Art History at Yale University. Her first book, under contract with Duke University Press is called Black Bodies White Gold: Art, Cotton and Commerce in the Atlantic World. It examines the connections between art, slavery and colonialism in the nineteenth century and in contemporary art practice. She is at work on a second book entitled Beyond Recovery: Reframing the Dialogues of Early African Diasporic Art and Visual Culture 1700-1900 with Professor Mia Bagneris of Tulane University for which they have been awarded an American Council of Learned Societies Collaborative Research Fellowship.