#StayingPower: The Black British Experience at the #V_and_A Museum


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Last week BLOW went to check out the ‘Staying Power: Black British Experience’  exhibition, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The exhibition which began on the 16th February, showcases a collection of photographs of black culture during 1950’s-60’s.

The exhibition is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and allows audiences to feel a sense of nostalgia as images are displayed of young black women during 1960’s and shows their interpretations of the infamous 1960’s “Beehive” hairstyle, whilst other images display men rocking waistcoats and flares of the 1970’s which – I might add – have made a comeback for S/S 15

For several years, the V&A Museum have been working closely with the Black Cultural Archives to highlight the contribution black photographers have made to photography in the UK. The exhibition consists of 118 pictures from around 17 artists around the country.

Work exhibited includes former  Nigerian and Young British Artists (YBA) member, Yinka Shonibare, whose controversial work plays around with the idea of cross-cultural heritage, colonialism and history.


And artistic contributions from J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere’ whose pictures explore the concept of the traditional West African woman by looking at traditional customs such as the african Lappa and braiding of the hair.


The exhibition provides audiences with the opportunity to understand the concept between each photograph as the exhibition also provides a ten minute audio set of interviews with each artist, where they explain why the photograph was taken, who was in it and how the person felt at the time the pictures were being taken.

West African “Head Tie” which is the ultimate and final statement piece to a woman’s traditional dress.


Other artistic work includes 1980’s photographer, Normski who’s photographs are influenced by 1980’s female Hip Hop dancers, as well as Maxine Walker who’s 1990’s photographs, see her transforms herself into different shades of black, in an attempt to challenge the nature of identity.




A group of girls during the 1980’s and their version of the Hip Hop “Street Image” which consisted of girls transforming themselves into a tomboy image


Maxine Walker explores the idea of identity by playing around with different hairstyles, and using make up to transform herself into lighter and darker brown tones.

‘Staying Power: The Black British Experience’ is on at the V&A museum is open from 10am – 17:45 Monday to Thursday and from 10am – 22:00 on Fridays. The exhibition is free and ends on the 24th May 2015.



Cosmo Sarson

For his first solo show since he made the headlines with the controversial twenty-eight feet mural of a breakdancing Jesus, Cosmo Sarson has been revisiting his now iconic image in a series of works that seamlessly transpose his street-art style into a traditional gallery setting.


Pure Evil Gallery – The Department Store 96-98 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4XS.
3 – 26 April 2015

Private View – Inferno – Alexander McQueen by Kent Baker

Blow were invited by Kent Baker to his book launch and photography exhibition – Inferno Alexander McQueen. In 1996 McQueen’s ‘Dante’ collection, eerily showcased at Hawksmoor’s Christchurch Spitalfields, confirmed his emergence from a St Martins Graduate into the visionary force in fashion we know him as now. Photographer, Kent Baker, one of McQueen’s intimate circle of friends, was backstage to capture the excitement and baroque theatre of the evening. The results are intimate portraits and reportage from a seminal moment in fashion history.

Kent Baker and Lou Winwood

Kent Baker and Lou Winwood

Mahmud Kabir and Ceri Poppins

Mahmud Kabir and Ceri Poppins

Shot entirely on film, all the large format black and white photographs are shown in public for the first time at The Gallery At Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London 20 March-3 May. Inferno – Alexander McQueen by Kent Baker is £20 on Lawrence King.



Daisy de Villeneuve Book Launch


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Blow hit the Kings Road, Chelsea, once again for the launch of illustrator Daisy De Villeneuve’s latest book. ‘I Should Have Said’. Wryly observed snippets and quotes with Daisy’s signature cool, felt-pen portraits sum up the pitfalls of the dating game for the modern girl. Daisy signed copies for designer Philip Colbert of the Rodnik Band, photographer Valerie Phillips and beardy artist and illustrator Rob Ryan

Daisy and Jan de Villeneuve, Valerie Phillips and Yumoko

Daisy and Jan de Villeneuve, Valerie Phillips and Yumoko

Lou Winwood and Valerie Phillips

Lou Winwood and Valerie Phillips



Private view – McQueen Backstage : Early Shows


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Blow sipped Prosecco alongside model Jade Parfitt and actress Sienna Guillory at the launch exhibition for Gary Wallis’ new book ‘McQueen Backstage : Early Shows’ (Big Smile Publishing). Photographer Gary was friends with McQueen from his Central St Martins days and the backstage photos from the early catwalk shows are interspersed with intimate personal portraits of the designer.  The book launch coincides with V&A’s  ‘Savage Beauty’ exhibition of McQueen’s life’s work, almost 5 years after his death. The ‘Early Shows’ exhibition is at Proud Chelsea, Kings Rd, London until 5th April.

Lou Winwood and Mandi Lennard

Lou Winwood and Mandi Lennard


Gary Wallis and Princess Julia

Emerging talent from AW 15/16 London Fashion Week


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Once again London fashion week has come and gone, however this season it was the newbies that truly stood out from the fashionable crowd. Fresh emerging talent such as Caitlin Price and Ed Marler had no problems showing on schedule along side global fashion houses such as Burberry and Jasper Conran. They managed to captivate the audience and press’ attention with their outstanding yet whimsical collections, which are bound to keep them at the forefront of our attention for seasons to come.

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Another key designer who emerged triumphed this season was Awon Golding Millinery. Awon showed a competent collection, with exquisitely detailed and structured hats. Speaking with Awon at her AW15 presentation she stated her ethos for the collection was ‘“Modern design with a sophisticated feminine edge; classic with a smile-inducing twist.” Awon is another under published exceptional designer whose talents are busting to be noticed.


London fashion week has once again shown its true diversity and support for undernourished creative talent within Britain and has beyond doubt put London on the map for creatively.



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