Exploring difference: Three women sculptors imaging non-European subjects in an age of Empire c.1925-1946
by Dr Jonathan Black
The three sculptors explored in my talk are Dora Gordine, Kathleen Scott and Clare Sheridan. Gordine first began making portraits of individuals from the French colonial Empire living in mid 1920s Paris. Between 1930 and 1935 she was based in British-controlled South-East Asia and commissioned to make four heads of the races of Malaya for the interior of the prestigious new Singapore Municipal Buildings. She was to exhibit further images of non-white subjects at the Leicester Galleries, London in July 1933 and November 1938. In 1930s London Gordine crossed paths with Kathleen Scott who in 1936 exhibited a series of statuettes depicting the first non-white star of the British film industry: Sabu of The Thief of Baghdad. Clare Sheridan exhibited a series of portraits of Native Americans in London in July 1938 after spending six months living on Blackfoot and Blood Reservations in the USA and Canada. The talk will round off with Gordine’s 1946 memorial plaque to the Chinese Nationalist leader Sun-Yat-Sen, her first public sculpture in London.
Dr Jonathan Black FRHistS is a graduate of Cambridge University and University College, London. His PhD in History of Art explored the image of the British soldier or ‘Tommy’ in the Great War imagery of C.R.W. Nevinson, Eric Kennington and Charles Sargeant Jagger. Publications include: The Sculpture of Eric Kennington; The Paintings and Drawings of Edward Wadsworth; Dora Gordine: Sculptor, Artist, Designer; The Sculpture of Ivor Roberts-Jones; The Complete Prints of C.R.W. Nevinson and Winston Churchill in British Art c. 1900 to the Present Day. He has curated several exhibitions, including at Dorich House Museum, London (2008); the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon (2011-12); the National Museum of Wales (2014) and the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London (2017). In 2018 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society for his work on British Culture and the aftermath of the First World War. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow in History of Art at Kingston School of Art, Kingston University.