Experimental multimedia artist Rita Keegan is known for her unusual use of materials and digital technologies – here she explores feminist practice and Black identity through new and reimagined work.
Rita Keegan was a major part of the Black Arts Movement in the 1980s, collecting and preserving a personal archive of newsletters, leaflets and exhibition literature from the Black British arts scene, culminating in the Rita Keegan Archive Project which went on display in South London Gallery last year. This will be her first solo exhibition in 15 years, and features work that showcases her radical approach to materials and her exploration of feminist practice and Black identity.
The exhibition will display digital animation, textiles, painting and copy art that is combined with experimental media such as scents and smells. Keegan is constantly drawing from her own experiences and incorporates many images of her family in her work – the archive she has collected pertaining to her personal life paints a vivid picture of Black middle-class Canadian family from the 1880s to the present day.
Self-portraits and conceptual dress depict the artist’s perspective of Black female identity and the exhibition also includes never-before-seen paintings and collages. A new mixed-media installation explores the people, places and things that have shaped the artist throughout her life, inspired by her well-known work Cycles (1992), that combined family photos with powerful images of enslaved African people and visceral materials such as turmeric, sand and tar-stained shipping ropes.