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William Morris Gallery

Rita Keegan - Jump up - Limited Edition Print

Regular price
£270.00 GBP
Regular price
Sale price
£270.00 GBP

As part of the Althea McNish: Colour is Mine programme and with the support of our sponsor Liberty FabricsWilliam Morris Gallery commissioned 3 designers - Simone Brewster, Yemi Awosile and Rita Keegan - to reimagine and reinterpret Althea’s original designs.

To take her aesthetic, her creative essence, her inspirations and make bold new designs to be incorporated into a product. Inspired by Althea McNish is a wonderful celebration of, and tribute to, McNish’s work. The new products created will help to present McNish’s story and legacy as a way of inspiring and motivating a new generation of young designers from under-represented backgrounds.

Description of by artist:

I love Althea McNish’s colour sense, the painterliness of her work, her vision and amazing approach to light. The colours she used in her fabrics jump around in the sunshine, but they also zing against the grey streets, then and now. When I was invited by The William Morris Gallery and Liberty Fabrics to do this commission, I was very careful not to culturally appropriate. Instead I wanted to interact with her fabric, to capture its nuances, folds, textures and its truth.

I liked the idea of using new technology and used a scanner and my own hand as a way to touch history and record it by touch. I did a lot of scanning with my hands, different forms and fabrics. I was excited by the ways they all translated but I loved the pinks and blacks within Jump Up. I wanted to create something as vibrant as Althea was and I also liked the idea of a black woman, my hand representing black women, interacting with another black woman’s work. It was almost like me physically putting her in the picture, or saying hello to her.

Available to order - please allow 2 weeks for delivery

- Title: Jump Up

- Size: A1

- Giclee printed

- Paper - Smooth cotton high white 315gsm 100% cotton. A smooth texture-free matte finish. 

- Edition size: 100

- Signed and numbered by the artist

- Unframed

Rita Keegan (b.1949, Bronx, New York) is an artist and archivist living in London. Her practice combines digital animation, textiles, painting and copy art, often grappling with the elusive and enduring powers of memory, drawing on her extensive family archive: a photographic record of a Black middle-class Canadian family from the 1880s to the present day.

Keegan co-founded the Brixton Art Gallery in 1982, established the Women of Colour Index (WOCI) in 1987, and was Director of the African and Asian Visual Arts Archive (AAVAA) until 1994. For many years, she was a lecturer in multimedia arts at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her artwork is held in the Tate Collection and has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Royal Academy, Iniva and the British Museum, London; Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol; the Studio Museum in Harlem and Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York. Keegan’s contributions to archival practice were explored by X Marks the Spot in the publication Human Endeavour: a creative finding aid for the Women of Colour Index. She has been profiled and reviewed in Artforum, Hyperallergic, Luncheon, Third Text and the Observer, amongst others. 

In 2021, Keegan’s archive was presented at South London Gallery, followed by a solo exhibition of her work accompanied by Mirror Reflecting Darkly, a new essay collection and archival sourcebook published by Goldsmiths Press. These activities formed part of the Rita Keegan Archive Project (2016 – 2022) a social history and curatorial collective that sought to preserve, exhibit and share Keegan’s collections. Its members included Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski, Dominique Zenani Barron, Lauren Craig, Matthew Harle, Gina Nembhard and Naomi Pearce. Following depositing her personal papers at the Women’s Art Library, Special Collections, Goldsmiths, University of London, Keegan now works collaboratively in the studio supported by Lauren Craig, Gina Nembhard and Naomi Pearce. Forthcoming projects include the group exhibitions Citational Choices, curated by Isabelle Sully at La Trobe Institute, Melbourne and Women in Revolt!, curated by Linsey Young at Tate Britain, London.