Down At The Bamboo Club
Date: 12 September - 17 October
Location: Picture This Atelier, Bristol, UK
Down at the Bamboo Club was conceived in the context of Bristol's celebration of the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery. The exhibition title refers to the legendary Bristol social club and music venue, the Bamboo Club.
The club, which ran during the 1960s and 1970s in St Pauls, has acquired symbolic value today for its role in the social scene of the time. As a venue that encouraged social interaction between communities, it was unique at a time when racial prejudices still prevented the employment of non-white drivers or conductors on Bristol buses. The Bamboo Club closed in 1977, but continues to hold powerful resonance today for the ongoing friendships it fostered and the positive affirmation of community relations it represented, and the exhibition uses the club as a metaphor for these values.
The exhibition coheres around a suite of three films commissioned by Picture This in 2009 Bamboo Memories by artists Barby Asante, Session by Mandy McIntosh and Mark Wilsher's The Use of Money. Selected by artist and curator Harold Offeh, the three works each revisit a particular aspect of Bristol's socio-political past through the device of filmic recreation. Three further works by Victor Alimpiev, Summer Lightnings, 2004; Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard's File under Sacred Music, 2003 and David Maljkovic Scenes for a New Heritage, 2004/6 expand on the principal ideas of the exhibition through an investigation of historiography itself, the writing and re-writing of history's scripts, and the continual repositioning of the past in relation to the present.
Alongside the exhibition at Picture This, the three commissioned works were temporarily screened in locations that bear direct relation to the scenarios they reference. McIntosh's Session was exhibited at the Two Way Street; Wilsher's The Use of Money at the The New Room; and Asante's Bamboo Memories at Circomedia, a circus school housed at St Pauls church in Portland Square, the street on which the Bamboo Club once stood.
Barby Asante explored the cultural legacy of Bristol’s Bamboo Club and worked with its rich social and oral history in Bamboo Memories.
Mandy McIntosh is a Glasgow based artist who uses an array of media: animation, video and knitting in the development of her projects.
Mark Wilsher is an artist, curator and writer currently based in Norwich. His practice incorporates, sculpture, drawing and performance.
Down at the Bamboo Club project explores legacy through participation, historic sites and events with 3 commissions, an exhibition and a publication.