Opening hours Gallery: Wednesday to Sunday 12–5pm

Donald Rodney Panel Discussion: Simeon Barclay, Keith Piper, Ian Sergeant and Marlene Smith

Donald Rodney Panel Discussion: Simeon Barclay, Keith Piper, Ian Sergeant and Marlene Smith

L-R: Simeon Barclay. Courtesy the artist; Marlene Smith. Courtesy the artist; Ian Barclay. Credit image to Marcin Sz

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Listen to the full panel discussion

On the 17 July 2024, Spike Island held a panel discussion event to celebrate Donald Rodney’s exhibition, Visceral Canker, with a panel discussion featuring artists and curators Simeon Barclay, Keith Piper and Dr Ian Sergeant. The discussion was chaired by artist and curator Marlene Smith and followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Simeon Barclay
Simeon Barclay spent his formative years working as a machine operative, whilst participating in various youth cultural movements across the UK. Channelling those alternative modes of expression he would eventually attend art school, graduating with an MFA at Goldsmith College. Barclay draws on a diverse visual language activating objects that with humorous undertones, come to express the paradoxes and ambiguities of situating and defining ourselves within culture and tradition. His work has been featured in a number of exhibitions for which he is eternally grateful.

Keith Piper
Keith Piper is a Black British artist, curator, researcher and academic. His creative practice responds to specific issues, historical relationships and geographical sites. In the early 1980s, Piper was a founding member of the Blk Art Group an association of young artists of African Caribbean descent, based in the West Midlands. During this period, he established a research driven approach to art practice, prioritising thematic exploration over an attachment to any particular media. His work has ranged from painting, through photography and installation to a use of digital media, video and computer-based interactivity. Piper has exhibited widely nationally and internationally at venues including Tate Britain (London), The New Art Gallery (Walsall), Wolverhampton Art Gallery (Wolverhampton), New Art Exchange (Nottingham), Camden Art Centre (London ) and The New Museum (New York). He is Professor of Fine Art at Middlesex University, London.

Ian Sergeant
Dr Ian Sergeant is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at University of the Arts London and an independent curator-researcher. He has an MA in Contemporary Curatorial Practice and completed his practice-based PhD at Birmingham City University in 2022. He is director of performing and visual arts organisation Kalaboration CiC.

Sergeant has curated many exhibitions, projects and events including The more things change…, Wolverhampton Art Gallery (2023); …Like a short cut through the brambles, Coventry Biennial (2023–24); Nation’s Finest, Putting Down Roots and Birthing, Birmingham 2022 Festival (2022); Interference:s, Coventry Biennial (2021); Cut & Mix, New Art Exchange (2021); Donald Rodney at Celine Gallery, Glasgow International (2021); Reimaging Donald Rodney, Vivid Projects (2016).

Marlene Smith
Marlene Smith is an artist and curator, and one of the founding members of Blk Art Group. She graduated from Bradford School of Art with a BA in Art & Design in 1987. She is currently a co-Leader (with Alice Correia and Elizabeth Robles) of the Black British Art Research Group/British Art Network, a Tate initiative. She was co-curator for Nations’s Finest, Putting Down Roots & Birthing (2021–22) and associate Making Histories Visible archive at UCLAN (University of Central Lancashire), Preston, (2017–20); UK Research Manager for Black Artists and Modernism, University of the Arts London (2015–17) and Director of Public Gallery, West Bromwich (2001–9).

Other recent exhibitions include: Women In Revolt!, Tate Britain (2023), National Galleries Scotland, Edinburgh (2024) and The Whitworth, The University of Manchester (2025); The More Things Change, Wolverhampton Art Gallery (2023); Black Art Collection Highlights, Wolverhampton Art Gallery (2022); Cut & Mix, New Art Exchange, Nottingham (2022); Portals, East Side Projects, Birmingham; Get Up, Stand Up, Now!: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers, Somerset House, London (all 2019); The Place Is Here, Nottingham Contemporary and South London Gallery (2017); Thinking Back: a montage of black art in Britain, Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2016); and Blood: Who Am I Gallery, Science Museum, London (2011). Her solo exhibition, Ah Sugar takes place at Cubitt Gallery, London from 22 August to 18 October, 2024.

This event is in partnership with the Black British Art Research Group/British Art Network.

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