Nottingham black art exhibition attracts thousands

Lay Back, Keep Quiet and Think of What Made Britain So Great, Image copyright Sonia Boyce
Image caption Curators of the exhibition said some of the debates raised in the artwork were still true today

About 2,000 people attended the opening night of a new art exhibition which claims to put '"black issues" back in the spotlight.

One of the curators behind The Place is Here said the "timeliness" of the show was responsible for the huge interest.

It features work reflecting how black artists dealt with life in 1980s Britain.

Sam Thorne, from the Nottingham Contemporary, said some issues faced then were coming back into society.

Image copyright Smoking Dog Films
Image caption The exhibition includes films such as "Handsworth Songs"

The exhibition contains more than 100 pieces of artwork which look at civil unrest, racial division and economic inequality.

Mr Thorne, director at the gallery, said many of the artists were responding to Ronald Regan's America and Margaret Thatcher's immigration policies at the time.

Image caption About 2,000 people attended opening night on Friday

He said: "There is a real sense of the timeliness of this work when political and social context feels quite close to today.

"Their work asks questions about identity or race which are still relevant today.

"Some of the anti-immigration issues and xenophobia the artists were responding to in the late 70s and 80s, is coming back again."

Image copyright Lubaina Himid
Image caption Many of the artists commented on political and social issues at the time

Mr Thorne the huge attendance from opening night - one of the gallery's biggest ever - showed the "excitement" there had been around the show.

"It was so busy," he added. "The range of people coming in, from all ages and backgrounds, created an incredible atmosphere."

The exhibition is free and runs until 30 April.

Image copyright Sonia Boyce
Image caption Sonia Boyce's 1987 painting considers her relationship with her self image and her roots

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