Rethinking Black Art as a Category of Experience

Rina Arya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Black art was a widely used category in the late 1970s and 1980s to describe the artwork of British people of South Asian, African or African-Caribbean descent. There are numerous problems associated with the collective labelling of such a group, not least because of the lack of stability as to what the term refers. This article addresses the inherent problems with this category and proffers alternative ways of thinking about Black art in terms that encompass broader identity issues. The concept of diaspora aesthetics, for instance, is presented as a more satisfactory alternative that resists the claim that culture develops along ‘ethnically absolute lines’, to use a phrase by Paul Gilroy, and instead encompasses the lived realities of identity positions as well as the heterogeneity of cultural experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-175
Number of pages13
JournalVisual Culture in Britain
Issue number2
Early online date2 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


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