Diaspora-Artists logo

Henry Meyric Hughes

Born, 1942

In his capacity as Director of Fine Arts Department, of The British Council, Henry Meyric Hughes provided a preface (‘Message’) to the substantial catalogue produced to accompany Aubrey Williams Exhibition which ran for six days, at Shibuya Tokyu Plaza, Japan, May 9 - 15, 1988.

Henry Meyric Hughes, was British Commissioner and Director, Visual Arts Department, The British Council when Anish Kapoor represented Britain at the XLIV Venice Biennale, in the British Pavilion, May - September 1990. Kapoor was the first non British born artist to represent Britain. He had been born in Bombay, India in 1954.

In his capacity as Director of Exhibitions, Hayward Gallery, Henry Meyric Hughes, together with Louise Karlsen, Principal Galleries and Museums Officer, Oldham, and Andrew Patrizio, Exhibition Organiser, National Touring Exhibitions, Henry Meyric Hughes,co-wrote the Preface to the catalogue for Imagined Communities.

Imagined Communities featured the work of Christian Boltanski, Sophie Calle, Denzil Forrester, Komar and Melamid, Giuseppe Penone, Tim Rollins + K.O.S., Yinka Shonibare, Gary Simmons and Gillian Wearing. The exhibition opened at Oldham Art Gallery, 27 January - 24 March 1996. It then  toured to John Hansard Gallery, at the University of Southampton; Firstsite at the Minories, Colchester; Walsall Museum and Art Gallery; Royal Festival Hall, London, and Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, between April 1996 and February 1997.

The exhibition was organised by Andrew Patrizio of National Touring Exhibitions, and Richard Hylton, of Oldham Art Gallery. Imagined Communities was described in its catalogue as bringing “together nine artists who work in painting, photography, sculpture, video and mixed media. With wit, irony and sensitivity, the artists adopt a variety of strategies - taking them from the studio, onto the street, to market stall, into the factory, into the nightclub, and down the digital highway - to investigate the private and public space of our existence.”

The sentiment was noted, elsewhere in the same publication, that “An increasing number of artists have made sorties into the rich territory of community, and at their best they have respected both the integrity of their own working practices and the complexity of the communities with which they collaborate. Often they succeed in  being rebellious and funny too. Part of the fascination with the topic may be seen as a response to the lingering legacy from Romanticism, which generated the idea of the artist as isolated and visionary individual, at the opposite pole from community’s sense of inclusion and participation.”

The exhibition brought together a fascinating range of artists, from London, Paris, Turin, and New York, though simultaneously, a number of the artists laid claim to links, through parentage and birth, to other geographical locations such as Nigeria and Russia. The artists themselves came from different artistic communities - Shonibare and Wearing were perhaps identified with the yBa grouping of practitioners, who were at the time beginning to take hold (and a certain control) of the British art world. Other artists, such as Denzil Forrester, were longtime practitioners for whom the process of painting was hugely important. Other artists in the exhibition came from other important international centres of art, such as Paris and New York.

The exhibition came with a hugely important catalogue in which Richard Hylton provided notes on each of the contributors, relating to their assorted approaches to the multiple notions of community.

Working as an independent curator, Henry Meyric Hughes worked with Svenrobert Lundquist, Director of Konsthallen, Göteborg, Sweden to curate “From Where to Here”: Art From London, 27 November 1999 - 30 January 2000. The exhibition featured Sonia Boyce, Juan Cruz, Ceal Floyer, Lucia Nogueira, João Penalva, Vong Phaophanit, Annie Ratti, Zineb Sedira, John Seth, Yinka Shonibare, Anne Tallentire, Simon Tegala, and Mayling To. A catalogue was produced for the exhibition.

From the catalogue’s Introduction: “… And the very notion of national ‘representation’ seems curiously out of tune with the current times, when ‘from where’ (indeterminate) seems of far greater relevance than ‘from here’, and is represented by thirteen artists, who all live in London, but come from completely different social, educational and cultural backgrounds and have cultural roots which reach into the farthest extremes of Europe - and, beyond that, into all corners of the globe. “


Related items

click to show details of Anish Kapoor

»  Anish Kapoor

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1990

click to show details of Aubrey Williams Exhibition - Japan

»  Aubrey Williams Exhibition - Japan

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1988

click to show details of “From Where to Here”: Art From London

»  “From Where to Here”: Art From London

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1999

click to show details of Imagined Communities

»  Imagined Communities

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1996

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Konsthallen

Göteborg , Sweden