Modern master Sir Frank Bowling OBE RA is presenting his first digital artwork on the CIRCA (Cultural Institute of Radical Contemporary Arts) global platform of digital screens.
Arrival celebrates the 70-year anniversary of the artist's arrival in London from British Guiana (now Guyana) in May 1953 and coincides with the coronation of Charles III and the 75th anniversary of Windrush.
One of the world's greatest living abstract painters, Frank Bowling has spent the last six decades of his career dedicated to the exploration of paint and colour, creating a powerful and original style that has influenced the art historical canon.
Marking the first time that the artist's work has been shown in a digital context, Arrival tells the story of his journey from British Guiana to the UK in 1953. Through crossfading two works from his iconic Map Paintings series – Texas Louise (1971) and Australia to Africa (1969–1670) – Bowling has created his first digital canvas featuring a cascade of colour.
Bowling travelled to the UK at the age of 19 in May 1953, arriving in London during the coronation of the late Elizabeth II on 2nd June. Reflecting on his arrival in London, he said: 'The moment I arrived in London, I knew I was home. My uncle met me at Waterloo, and we travelled by Tube to Finchley Road. I wasn’t even listening to what he was saying, I was looking round. It was summertime, and the whole of London town was still into the coronation. And I went all over London – even up past Piccadilly Circus – travelling on the buses, on the train. It was amazing.'
The presentation of Arrival on London's Piccadilly Lights coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Empire Windrush arriving at Tilbury Docks in June 1948. The ship brought a large group of Caribbean people to the UK to help rebuild Britain after the Second World War, with thousands more following in the decades thereafter – a moment which shaped the social and cultural fabric of modern Britain.
In light of the CIRCA 20:23 manifesto: Hope: The Art of Reading What Is Not Yet Written, Bowling's Arrival provides a poignant opportunity for global audiences to reflect on the positive societal impact of migration, whilst the UK looks ahead and considers the nation it hopes to become.
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CIRCA is currently amplifying the work of Black Cultural Archives – the home of Black British history which has dedicated over 40 years to celebrating the contributions of African and Caribbean people in the UK.
Until 10th June 2023, audiences connected to the Windrush Generation are invited to share their memories and photos documenting their stories of 'arrival' on the CIRCA website. An edited film featuring a curated selection of these public submissions will be presented on Piccadilly Lights on Thursday 22nd June at 8pm, to coincide with Windrush Day celebrations.
To upload your memories, visit the CIRCA website. Experience Arrival by Sir Frank Bowling every night at 8.23pm (20:23) local time on London's Piccadilly Lights and in Berlin, Los Angeles, Seoul and Tokyo until 30th June.