Uncomfortable Art Tours

12 June 2017

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Venue: The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

Organiser: The Exhibitionist

Alice Procter hosts The Exhibitionist, an opinionated podcast reviewing museums and galleries. Her academic work concentrates on the intersections of post-colonial art practice and colonial material culture, investigating how we curate historical trauma and national identity. She has five years of tour guiding experience and plenty of things to say.

Uncomfortable Art Tours are exactly what they sound like. In a country that’s repeatedly failed to come to terms with its colonial past, led by politicians who seem to think the past is the future, we seek to resist triumphalist nostalgia with art history. Our tours will focus on how major institutions like the National Gallery and Tate Britain came into being against a backdrop of imperialism. In each one hour tour, we’ll unravel the role colonialism played in shaping and funding these collections, looking at the broader material history of celebrated works. The history of British art is also the history of empire and genocide, written by collectors who traded in landscapes and lives. There are bloody handprints on the gallery walls, and the bodies of slaves and colonised peoples in the foundations.