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Diversity is the new uniqueness
Artistic migrations at the Tate Britan
Cultural exchanges take place in different ways, they can originate from travels, meetings and even complex situations such as migrations. The theme of the exhibition currently on show at the Tate Britan is the valuable historical contribution given by migrations. The exhibition, which draws from the museum’s vast collection of artworks, runs through Aug. 12.
The event presents a wide analysis that starts from 1500 to present. Amongst others, artworks by Lely, Kneller, Kauffman, Sargent, Epstein, Mondrian, Bomberg and Black Audio Film Collective are part of the exhibition which features various types of media and diverse approaches to art.
The exhibition aims at displaying in an articulate way how movements of people from one country to another are inherently synergetic: migrations can be seen as a continuous flow of ideas across different cultures and the discovery/encounter of identities and diversities can give raise to new paths and aesthetic tastes.
Along the same line of thought, the British identity has been cross-contaminated by a series of cultural relations coming from foreign countries or former colonies and migrations have had a big part in it. Diversity and variety are valued because they promote of growth and beauty.
The exhibition examines influences on British artistic taste of various artists who migrated to or from other countries;for example Jan Eeuwouts (better known in English as Eworth Hans) who, expelled from Antwerp for heresy in 1540, went on to become principal portraitist of Queen Mary I. Or J.W. Turner who migrated to Italy where he developed his technique and brought it back to his country. Or again Hans Holbein, the German painter at the court of Henry VIII who influenced the great tradition of British portrait.
More recently, the exhibition of Jewish art that took place in 1906 at the Whitechapel Art Gallery had substantial influence on the national culture.
The catalog complements beautifully the exhibition with details on the historical context of the various artworks.