Tam Joseph was born on the Caribbean island of Dominica and moved to Britain at the age of eight.

He trained in London at the Central School of Art and the Slade and went on to become an influential member of the first generation of black British artists. Spirit of the Carnival reflects the uneasy relationship that existed between black communities and the police in Britain during the early 1980s, particularly at the annual Notting Hill Carnival. The scene shows a masked performer in traditional Dominican carnival costume penned in by crowds of riot police and under attack from a snarling dog. The performer continues to dance, suggesting a spirit of both resistance and joyful celebration. Wolverhampton Art Gallery has recently been awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to acquire work by black artists. This key work by Joseph now forms part of a collection that the gallery plans to expand into one of national significance in this area.


The artist

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