Lost and Found: Bristol’s underground visual artists

Event Details
Date: , 2023
Time: to
Location: Events Suite Level 2
Venue: M Shed, BS1 4RN
Price: Free
With: Ruth Parkinson, Bnar Sardar, Davey Woodward
Series: Bristol Radical History Festival 2023
Page Details
Picture courtesy of Hazel Gower

This panel considers the work of contemporary artists who have had an influence and impact on Bristol but sought little exposure for themselves. Two artists who have recently passed away, Steve Philbey and Tony Forbes, certainly fit the bill, as do the activities of the Bristol Refugee Artists Collective.

Steve Philbey (1943 – 2022) was a painter, muralist, graphic artist, photographer and founder/chronicler of The Saint-Just Mob. And also variously a factory worker, Father Christmas, painter and decorator, film extra, demolition worker and Victoria Line tunneller.

The Saint-Just Mob have been active subvertisers in Bristol since 2001 intervening on Billboards, Hoardings and Statues using pasted words on lining paper. Part of the battle to free our Commons.

copiedSteve also has artwork in the collections of The Museum of Contemporary Art Utrecht, Artists Union Moscow, Russell Coates Museum Bournemouth, The Photographers Gallery London, The Williamson Art Gallery and Museum Birkenhead and The Victoria and Albert Museum London.

Tony ‘Winston’ Forbes (1964-2019) was a musician, painter and graphic artist from Southmead who first found local fame as a lead guitarist in the renowned Bristol post-punk band the Brilliant Corners. His most famous art work was painted in protest to the Festival of the Sea in 1996, an event organised by the Merchant Venturers but which excluded reference to slavery and the trade in enslaved Africans. The self portrait Sold Down the River (1999) depicted Forbes chained by the local media and to the continued veneration of the slave-trader Edward Colston, whilst the wealthy party in Clifton. You can see this painting in M Shed in the People Gallery on Level 1.

Steve Philbey and Tony Forbes will be remembered by contributions from Ruth Parkinson, Davey Woodward of the Brilliant Corners and Eugene Byrne.

Bnar Sardar is a freelance Photojournalist from Kurdistan, a storyteller for seven years working in the refugee’s camps in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Bnar will discuss the artistic work of the Bristol Refugee Artists Collective a group of Bristol-based artists from the refugee and migrant community. In particular, she will share her experiences of being a photojournalist involved in community projects with Bristol school children and adults.

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