|Born||1947 (age 69–70)
Commonwealth of Dominica
|Education||Central School of Art and Design; Slade School of Art, University of London|
|Notable work||Spirit of the Carnival;
UK School Report
Tam Joseph (born in 1947) is a Dominica-born British painter, formerly known as Tom Joseph. Described as "a uniquely talented, multidimensional artist" by art historian Eddie Chambers, "Tam Joseph has contributed a number of memorable paintings that locate themselves at the centre of socio-political commentary, often making work that shocks as it amuses, amuses as it shocks. Typical in this regard are paintings for which Joseph is universally loved and respected, such as 'Spirit of the Carnival' and 'UK School Report'."
Born in the Commonwealth of Dominica, Joseph came at the age of eight to London, where he still lives and works. In 1967 he studied at the Central School of Art and Design, following this with a BA course at the Slade School of Art, University of London. He worked on Yellow Submarine, the animated film featuring the Beatles. He travelled in Europe and the Far East during the 1970s, and subsequently enrolled at the London College of Printing, graduating with a Dip AD in Typographic design. While working for the magazine Africa Journal in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he also travelled extensively in Africa.
One of his best known paintings is his 1983 work Spirit of the Carnival, a reference to the Notting Hill Carnival. Another notable work, dating from 1983, is UK School Report, which depicts the passage of a Black youth through the British education system in three portraits that are captioned: "Good at sports", "Likes music" and "Needs surveillance".
His exhibitions have included: Caribbean Art at the Crossroads, El Museo del Barrio, Studio Museum in Harlem and Queens Museum, 2012; This is History, Gallery II and touring, 1998; Learning to Walk, Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Stirling, and touring; Us and Dem, Storey Institute, Lancaster, 1994; Back to School, The Showroom, London, 1989; Black Art: Plotting the Course, Oldham Art Gallery and touring, 1988; Big Yellow, Bedford Hill Gallery, 1988; Observers are Worried, Painting and Sculpture, St Pancras Library and Shaw Theatre, London, 1986; Monkey Dey Chop, Baboon Dey Cry, Barbican Arts Centre, London, 1984. His work was included in the recent exhibition No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960–1990 at London's Guildhall Art Gallery (10 July 2015 – 24 January 2016).
Selected group exhibitions
- 1984: Into the Open: New Paintings, Prints and Sculptures by Contemporary Black Artists, Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield
–– Creation For Liberation 2nd Open Exhibition By Black Artists, Brixton Art Gallery, London
- 1985: Blackskin/Bluecoat, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool (4 April – 4 May 1985)
- 1986: From Two Worlds, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (30 July – 7 September 1986)
- 1987: Double Vision, Cartwright Hall, Bradford
–– Prema Art Gallery, Gloucestershire, The Old Mill, Uley
- 1988: Black Art: Plotting the Course, Oldham Art Gallery
–– The Artist Abroad, Lincolnshire, Usher Gallery
- 1990: Steel by Design, Scunthorpe Museum
- 1992: Blast from the Past, Glasgow Art Museum
- 1993: Greenwich Citizens Art Gallery
- 1994: Us n' Dem, Lancaster City Art Galleries
- 1995: ART'CRA, Accra, Ghana
- 1997: Bradford, Museums and Art Galleries
–– Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield
- 1998: Le Corps Humain, Gallerie des Arênes, Nîmes
- 1999: Tullie House Art Gallery, Carlisle
- 2000: Galerie HD Nick, Aubais
- 2006: Gallerie de L'Ombres, Nîmes
- 2007: Hawkins & Co, Elspeth Kyle Gallery, London
- 2008: Hawkins & Co, Novas Contemporary Urban Centre, Liverpool
–– Crossing the Waters, Cartwright Hall, Bradford
- 2009: The Tavern Gallery, Meldreth, Herts
–– Pic n'Mix, Woolworth, Leytonstone High Road, London
- 2010: Gallery 101, Mansion House, London
- 2012: Material Matters EastwingX, Courtauld Institute, London
- 2013: 50 Years post Birmingham, The Art Gallery: University of Maryland College
–– Tehran Calling, London Print Workshop
- 2014: DAK'ART 2014, Senegal
- Eddie Chambers, Black Artists in British Art: A History since the 1950s, I.B. Tauris, 2014, note 20, pp. 255–56. ISBN 1780762720.
- Eddie Chambers, "Tam Joseph - This is History" (1998).
- "Tam Joseph" at Diaspora Artists.
- Creative Africa Network.
- "Tam Joseph", Dak'Art 2014.
- "Tam Joseph", InIVA.
- "The Gallery: Carnival", The National Archives.
- Tam Joseph commentary, p. 2, "Calling" project.
- "Tam Joseph: Observers Are Worried", Eddie Chambers.
- "Tam Joseph", Festival projects, Edinburgh Art Festival, 30 July – 30 August 2015.
- Hamja Ahsan, "Exhibition of the Year: No Colour Bar: Black Art in Action 1960-1990", Media Diversified, 31 December 2015.
- Brixton Art Gallery Archive 1983–1986, Brixton 50.
- Tam Joseph official website
- Art profile of Tam Joseph
- Tam Joseph commentary, Calling Project.
- 5 Painting(s) by or after Tam Joseph at the Art UK site
- Tam Joseph, "Spirit of the Carnival", V&A.
- "Art of This World: Tam Joseph", Aker: Futuristically Ancient.
- "Tam Joseph - The Handmade Map of the World", YouTube.
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