Today I was at Central Saint Martin’s workshops/exhibition show at the Lethaby Gallery. The theme was around Creativity must operate beyond borders. The main work was around White British women’s fight for equality over the last 100 years and so on. Then as usual they had lumped together people of colour.
I have a slight issue with white British women being lumped together with people of colour, the reason for this is they do not share the same history.
British women fully participated in the destruction and colonisation of non-europeans overseas. Middle-class British women were sent to South Asia and given roles as missionaries, “educating” the locals that their skin-tone, religion, customs, and culture were unprogressive and primitive. This created an inferiority complex within the local’s mindset. The British also brought with them a heavy patriarch culture, which most of South Asia still suffers from today. British women also benefited greatly by the economic situation created by the “East India Company” (1600) aka British Empire. Which in return has benefited their personal independence and offspring, up until present day.
The European man was the instigator, but the European woman was also the facilitator.
I understand British women had struggles with a patriarch structure, constructed by their men. The achievements of British women should be celebrated. But, this still does not mean non-european people, especially women of colour share the same history in any shape or form.
There is a direct link from past history to present day issues of British born artists of colour being under represented in the art world. It is no accident, it is a historical structure which is still fully functioning.
I asked one of the white female organisers “why so much emphasis is given to successful artists of colour from an international background? Why are British born artists of colour given less importance? Only when they became successful abroad, that all of a sudden they are claimed as one of your own (British)!
All I got was “We are working on it”, LOL. I would have asked more questions, but we were interrupted by one of her colleagues.