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article imageReview: New citizenship exhibition at London's Tate Modern Special

By Tim Sandle     Apr 10, 2016 in Entertainment
London - Citizenship is a difficult concept to pin down. Is it self-defined, shaped by the environment, or imposed by others? These are some of the key questions grappled with by artists over the years.
London's Tate Modern currently has an exhibition that attempts to frame these questions about citizenship and to help visitors to come to their own conclusions. The citizenship exhibition is taking place in one of the Tate's main galleries, which Digital Journal's London based reporter attended recently. The article is one of three examining conceptual art. The second article considers the off-beat art of Joseph Beuys, and lets the reader answer the question as to whether Beuys' work was Utopian drivel or full of remarkable foresight? The third article takes a gentle meander through some key artworks on display in the gallery.
The focus of the people-centric art and photography running at Tate Modern is 'global communities and critical citizenship.'
Most striking are Sue Williamson's images called "A Few South Africans", which deal with women who fought for equality during the apartheid era. The images date from 1983.
This first picture is of a woman without a name, simply referred to as Case 6831/21. It represents a woman with no legal rights, known simply by a case number.
Sue Williamson s Case 6831/21/
Sue Williamson's Case 6831/21/
A picture of Virginia Mngoma  an activist.
A picture of Virginia Mngoma, an activist.
Sue Williamson was born in Litchfield, England in 1941. Her family immigrated to South Africa in 1948. Here is here image of Charlotte Motsoaledi, an activist.
Williamson was closely involved in the struggle against apartheid
Williamson was closely involved in the struggle against apartheid
Williamson studied at the Art Students' League in New York from 1963-65. Here is her image of Amina Cachalia.
Amina Cachalia was a South African anti-Apartheid activist  women s rights activist  and politician.
Amina Cachalia was a South African anti-Apartheid activist, women's rights activist, and politician.
Cachalia was a longtime friend and ally of former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela.
Made at a time when South Africa was still firmly in the grip of apartheid, A Few South Africans (1983-7) was a series which attempted to make visible the history of women, mostly unsung individuals.
One of Sue Wiiliamson s striking portraits.
One of Sue Wiiliamson's striking portraits.
A further image from Sue Williamson.
A further image from Sue Williamson.
Perhaps most famous of all, Williamson's portrait of Winnie Mandela.
Winnie Mandela  a South African activist and politician.
Winnie Mandela, a South African activist and politician.
Crossing to Asia, the exhibition features some impressive photographs by Sheba Chhachhi about women in India.
One of Sheba Chhachhi s photographs of women in India.
One of Sheba Chhachhi's photographs of women in India.
Sheba Chhachhi’s collection is called Seven Lives and a Dream 1990–91.
Sheba Chhachhi  a staged photograph of women in India.
Sheba Chhachhi, a staged photograph of women in India.
The pictures bring together photographs of Indian women on protests with staged portraits of seven individuals.
Sheba Chhachhi s close up work is very impressive.
Sheba Chhachhi's close up work is very impressive.
Sheba Chhachhi’s Seven Lives and a Dream  shown at Tate Modern in 2016.
Sheba Chhachhi’s Seven Lives and a Dream, shown at Tate Modern in 2016.
Other aspects of citizenship are displayed through videos.
A bank of monitors display images about global citizenship.
A bank of monitors display images about global citizenship.
The video works include Artur Zmijewski’s footage of public protests focuses not only on those seeking freedoms but also on the crowd behaviour of extreme right wing movements.
Artur Zmijewski’s work watched by gallery goers. The video s title  Democracies 2009  is provocati...
Artur Zmijewski’s work watched by gallery goers. The video's title 'Democracies 2009' is provocative, as many of these countries are not proper democracies at all.
Also of interest is Theaster Gates’ Civil Tapestry 4 2011. This work alludes to the fire hoses turned upon young black school children marching peacefully in Alabama in 1963.
Theaster Gates work arranges hoses in a configuration that recalls abstract painting from the same p...
Theaster Gates work arranges hoses in a configuration that recalls abstract painting from the same period.
Many of the works in the exhibition focus on the struggles of people in turbulent times. For example, Richard Hamilton's 'The Prisoner', which deals with the paramilitary war in Northern Ireland during the 1970s and 1980s. Richard Hamilton’s depiction of a prisoner’s is focused on a 1980s ‘no wash’ protest.
Richard Hamilton s painting about Northern Ireland s turbulent times.
Richard Hamilton's painting about Northern Ireland's turbulent times.
The most recent work on display is by social activist and artist Andrea Bowers, called 'The Workers Maypole.' It was made in 2015.
Andrea Bowers’ The Worker’s Maypole 2015 recreates an allegorical illustration from an 1894 soci...
Andrea Bowers’ The Worker’s Maypole 2015 recreates an allegorical illustration from an 1894 socialist magazine using marker pens on cardboard.
Tate Modern visitors looking at  The Workers Maypole  art construct.
Tate Modern visitors looking at 'The Workers Maypole' art construct.
Overall, Tate Modern has done a good job in representing the idea of global citizenship, and how it is represented at different times in different places.
More about citizneship, Citizens, Tate modern, London
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