After the End of History: British Working Class Photography 1989 – 2024

After the End of History: British Working Class Photography 1989 - 2024
Eddie Otchere, Goldie Metalheadz at the Blue Note in Hoxton Square in 1996. Courtesy the artist

After the End of History: British Working Class Photography 1989 – 2024
Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry: 29 March – 16 June 2024
Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea: 3 July – 14 September 2024
Bonington Gallery, Nottingham: 27 September – 15 December 2024

Launching in March 2024, Hayward Gallery Touring – the UK’s largest contemporary art organisation producing exhibitions that tour Britain – will present After the End of History: British Working Class Photography 1989 – 2024. The exhibition will bring together working class artists who use photography to explore the nuances of life in all its diversity today, turning their gaze towards both their communities and out to the wider world.

After the End of History will offer a picture of working-class life today; from Rene Matic’s portrait of growing up mixed race in a white working-class community in Peterborough, to Elaine Constaintine‘s documentation of the Northern Soul scene, to Kavi Pujara ode to Leicester’s Hindu community, and JA Mortram’s documentation throughout his life of marginalised people while working as a caregiver.

After the End of History: British Working Class Photography 1989 - 2024
Elaine Constantine, Steve in his kitchen, 1993–96,
Courtesy the artist.

The year 2024 will mark 35 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the symbolic end of Communism. For the economist Francis Fukuyama, writing in the early 1990s, this celebrated triumph of Western Liberal Democracy as the only viable future for global politics represented the “End of History”.

Johny Pitts, Curator of After the End of History, says:“Developing a show with Hayward Gallery Touring, which pieces together complex and counterintuitive expressions of working class life through the lens, has been a deeply enriching process. I hope the extraordinary work included offers not only a celebration of the craft and creativity of working class practitioners, but also engages, surprises and inspires a working class audience, and anyone interested in art against-the-odds.”

After the End of History: British Working Class Photography 1989 - 2024
Serena Brown, Clayponds, 2018, Courtesy the artist.

The counter-cultural energies of the 1980s, very often powered up by the alternative ideologies embodied by Communism, and a reaction against Thatcherism, produced a collective, coherent and politically engaged generation of working-class artists. But after the so-called “End of History” was announced in the 1990s, what became of working-class culture and the working class creative? What kind of images has working-class life produced in the last 35 years? After The End of History aims to illuminate these questions.

Brian Cass, Senior Curator, Hayward Gallery Touring, says: “Thanks to the insights and passion of curator Johny Pitts, After the End of History offers a portrayal of working-class culture that doesn’t conform to expectation. It features a fascinating range of artists whose visually compelling images challenge the ideals of classic documentary photography while also saying something vital about class, community and creativity. We are delighted to be working with our exhibition partners on this project and we hope the exhibition offers audiences a thoughtful, relevant and affirming celebration of working-class creativity.”

After the End of History: British Working Class Photography 1989 - 2024
Eddie Otchere, Goldie Metalheadz at the Blue Note in Hoxton Square in 1996.
Courtesy the artist

Artists in the exhibition will include Richard Billingham, Serena Brown, Rob Clayton, Artur Conka, Josh Cole, Elaine Constantine,, Anna Magnowsk, Rene Matic, J A Mortram, Kelly O’Brien, Eddie Otchere, Charlie Philips, Kavi Pujara, Khadija Saye, Chris Shaw, Ewen Spencer, Hannah Starkey, Nathaniel Telemaque and Barbara Wasiak, amongst others.

After the End of History: British Working Class Photography 1989 – 2024 is a Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition curated by Johny Pitts with Hayward Gallery Touring.

©2023 Hayward Gallery Touring

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