Stills, Edinburgh 9 March – 10 June 2023
What is Black Britain? In 2021, photographer and writer, Johny Pitts, and poet Roger Robinson circumnavigated the British Coast, including time in Scotland, in search of an answer. The resulting project, ‘Home is Not a Place’ presented as an exhibition at Stills, supported by Photoworks, and a book published by Harper Collins, reflects on Black British culture, people and geographies, exploring the notion of home.
‘My photographic practice involves trying to celebrate Black spaces, capture them while they’re still here and give them a home. If not in a literal sense, in a figurative sense, for me home is somewhere that you take with you.’ -Johny Pitts
Traveling in a red mini cooper along the Thames and then from Margate to Land’s End, Bristol to Blackpool, Glasgow to John O’Groats and Scarborough to Southend on Sea, Pitts and Robinson’s circumnavigation encompassed the coastal, urban, rural and suburban, via the places in-between, following the coast clockwise. They set out to document and respond to the many manifestations of Black British culture, and to present an alternative to the official and media narratives.
For this project, Pitts has built upon his ‘Afropean Archive’ of over 100,000 images documenting the Black experience in Europe. His images which form Home Is Not a Place reflect upon the complexity and resilience of Black Britishness at this particular point of time.
Ben Harman, Director, Stills, said, “We’re excited to be collaborating with Johny Pitts, Roger Robinson and Photoworks on the first presentation of Home Is Not a Place in Scotland. We look forward to introducing our audiences to a project that is a celebration of Black British culture as well as an important new reflection on the complexity of the contemporary Black British experience in Britain’s coastal, rural, urban and suburban areas, including Scotland.”
Home Is Not a Place will take the form of an exhibition and also a book now published by Harper Collins which will combine photographs with poems by the T.S. Eliot Prize awardee Roger Robinson.
Johny Pitts is the curator of the ENAR (European Network Against Racism) award-winning online journal Afropean.com and the author of Afropean: Notes From Black Europe (Penguin Random House) which won the 2020 Jhalak Prize], the 2020 Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing, and is the recipient of the 2021 Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding. He currently presents Open Book for BBC Radio 4 and a forthcoming Afropean podcast funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society. Pitts has contributed words and images for The Guardian, The New Statesman, The New York Times, and Condé Nast Traveller. His first solo exhibition Afropean: Travels in Black Europe was exhibited at Foam, Amsterdam in 2020.
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