Friday, 27 May 2016

Peace Signs by Edward Barber

I was very pleased to be invited to the viewing of Edward Barber's exhibition 'Peace Signs' which opened at the Imperial War Museum contemporary space on Wednesday. Ed Barber is a photographic artist, specialising in images of people and their relationship to space and environment. He is best known for his portraiture, through major projects such as All Dressed Up, In the City and Resolve. He is one of the few photographers to have their work displayed and in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery. He is also a designer, curator and teacher, and was formerly Subject Director for Fashion Photography at the London College of Fashion.
Ed recorded major protests staged at key sites such as RAF/USAF Greenham Common, Westminster, Trafalgar Square and the City of London. The body of work is a unique social document of mass popular protest in late twentieth century Britain which has rarely been seen in public since it was first published in 1984.
Peace Signs, Barber’s collected body of work, was originally taken to attract media attention to the anti-nuclear movement. The exhibition explores these protests as multi-generational and distinctly British forms of self-expression. Illuminating the activists’ humour and creativity, these images create a social record of both individual and collective responses to war. The photographs capture hand-rendered signs, banners, badges, clothing, make-up and costumes, and illustrate the often overlooked role of performance theatre, folk art and fashion at peace camps and demonstrations.
The display, with the background painted in 'nuclear' yellow, offers a fresh interpretation of the images, the photographs are contextualised by a graphic installation entitled Mind Map of Anti-Nuclear Protest, created by Danielle Inga and Edward Barber specifically for this exhibition. The Mind Map traces his contemporary re-evaluation of the events he captured in the 1980s - see below pic. Unfortunately my picture doesn't do justice - so you'll have to go and see it for yourself! The exhibition runs until 4th September.
Posted by Justin Hobson 27.05.2016

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