Paul Dash

 

A leading academic and painter, Paul Dash was born in Barbados in 1946. Aged 11, he migrated to Britain to join his family in Oxford in 1957. He studied at Chelsea School of Art and earned his PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London. He was an active member of the Caribbean Artists Movement, a creative grouping of writers, artists, and musicians and filmmakers of Caribbean heritage formed in London in 1966.

 

Dash has taught art in secondary schools and higher education institutes, including as a Senior Lecturer in Educational Studies at Goldsmiths. He has conducted research into the experience of African-Caribbean students in education and art education. His explorations of culture and racism in art education were inspired by his own experiences being taught in Oxford in the 1950s.

 

His intimate Self-portrait (1979) was produced when he was 33 years old and represents for him the kind of art he had earlier wanted to produce but had been discouraged from when in art school. His practice draws on a figurative traditional style that did not align with the conceptualism of his art education. This work was completed in a flat assigned to him by the authorities when he was teaching at Haggerston School. The flat was on the lowest floor with very limited light, so the painting is tonally dark. Another work, the oil painting Dancing at Reading Town Hall (1963), captures the indistinct flow and atmosphere of a dance hall of the 1960s. Hazy arms and legs flung out suggest the gyrating movement of people to music in the dim and smoky hall.

Dash described the No Colour Bar exhibition as “one of the biggest experiences and one of the most important experiences in art that I’ve had…showing work alongside people like Aubrey Williams, Ronald Moody, Sonia Boyce and Denzil Forrester, and many others, that I greatly respect.” Dash has previously exhibited in group shows at institutions such as the Royal Academy, Whitechapel Gallery and Commonwealth Institute (1971). His work was selected for inclusion in the Columbia Threadneedle Prize at the Mall Galleries, London (2015).  In 2016, Dash was the subject of a poignant and fascinating short film by Martha McAlpine that focused on Black identity and was installed as part of the Hackney Museum exhibition People Power: Black British Arts and Activism in Hackney 1960s- 2000s (October 2016-January 2017).


 

Paul Dash (1946)

Dancing at Reading Town Hall, 1963 (not shown)

Born in Barbados, Paul Dash arrived in Britain, aged eleven. He had a distinguished career as a Senior Lecturer in Educational Studies at Goldsmiths University of London. A member of the Caribbean Artists Movement, he continues to produce art.    

Oil on board

On loan from the artist

 

Paul Dash (1946)

Self-portrait, 1979 (above)

Using limited natural light from the block of flats where he lived, Dash produced this self-portrait when he was thirty-three years old. This paining represented the kind of art he wanted to produce, which had been discouraged when he was in art school.  

Oil on canvas

On loan from the artist

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