How Did We Get Here? is the first exhibition produced by Decolonise Brighton University, a recently-established student group committed to challenging the legacies of colonialism and racism on campus. As students thinking about how we can decolonise our curricula, asking ourselves ‘How did we get here?’ provokes the interrogation of narratives that have dominated education and shaped society.
This show contains paintings and sculpture exploring the contemporary legacies of colonialism and resilience in the face of prejudice. The work covers a range of themes relating to colonial history, identity, the female body and cultural symbolism. Reflected in the variety of issues put forward, the work explores the intersectional nature of decolonisation discourse, and recognises the far-reaching effects of historical and ongoing colonial violence. Art history has perpetuated this violence, and the exhibition responds by offering alternative depictions of marginalised histories and identities.
Interrogating these legacies in the context of the University of Brighton is an important step in confronting manifestations of institutional racism such as the BAME attainment gap, non- representative curricula and the disproportionate whiteness of our campus. Decolonise Brighton University aims to raise awareness of and campaign against structural inequality, by amplifying voices oppressed by racism and imperialism.