Ongoing until January 2016, a pioneering arts exhibition 'No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960-1990' will be in place at Guildhall Art Gallery.
Eric and Jessica Huntley (pictured) ran the internationally-celebrated Walter Rodney bookshop and Bogle-L'Ouverture publishing house in Chigwell Place, Ealing, founded in 1968. The library was a literary hub and "socio-political mecca" for British black artists and writers.
The Huntleys championed various civil rights campaigns, facilitated educational and public gatherings, organised book fairs as well as published and promoted black literature and art, including works by Walter Rodney, Lemn Sissay, Valerie Bloom, Cecil Rajendra, Linton Kwesi-Johnson, Andrew Salkey, Sonia Boyce, Errol Lloyd, Fowokan George Kelly, Uzo Egonu and more.
The No Colour Bar six-month exhibition is inspired by the work of the Huntleys; the seeds of the exhibition are "sown out of a historical dialogue, based on the cultural resistance, black empowerment and the politics of visual representation."
The exhibition includes a multi-sensory, interactive recreation of the Huntley's bookshop. Also included are works of art, sculpture, photographs, paintings, letters and other artefacts from more than 25 prominent black artists (including Eddie Chambers, Denzil Forrester, Sonia Boyce and Dr Michael McMillan).
Divided into four themed areas (Elbow Room, Broad Shoulders, Clenched Fists and Open Arms), the diversity of the exhibition challenges visitors to question the meaning of 'black art'.
Grace Quansah, British Museum facilitator and director of WAPPY (Writing, Acting and Publishing Project for Youngsters), said: "The exhibition is breath-taking, beautiful, bold and brilliant. I found myself being catapulted back into history to that period of my childhood when I used to visit the Walter Rodney Bookshop in the 1970s.
"There was so much diverse art to absorb from local to global themes, I felt a sense of immense pride and inspiration to have been a part of it. The bronze bust of the late Jessica Huntley by Fowokan George Kelly, which is aptly positioned as a centrepiece in the 'Open Arms' section of the gallery, is powerful and moving.
"It was typical for Jessica Huntley or as I would call her, 'Mother Huntley', to welcome visitors into her home. This was so well captured by the presence and positioning of the bust. We are reminded that the essence of her activism is still very pertinent and present. A must see!"
Beverley Mason, project manager for the exhibition, said: "We are excited to share this vital period in British contemporary history to new audiences and uncover the voices and creative vision of world class Black British artists, who were inspired by, or directly worked with, the pioneering Huntleys.
"To have created this culturally important archive and arts exhibition marks a valuable shift in thinking about the approach to opening up and enlivening archives and historical art collections worldwide.
"It's a great moment in the history of the Guildhall Art Gallery and it's the perfect venue and location for facilitating these important conversations and showcasing this culturally symbolic archive and thought-provoking works of art."
The tenth annual Huntley Conference will also take place at the exhibition on Saturday October 10, as part of Black History month.
Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, City of London, EC2V 5AE - 020 7332 3700