4 May - 30 June, CIRCA 20:23
The Cultural Institute of Radical Contemporary Arts (CIRCA) is proud to present Arrival – the first digital artwork by modern master Sir Frank Bowling. Celebrating the 70-year anniversary of his arrival in London from British Guiana (now Guyana) in May 1953, the exhibition runs from 4 May until 30 June and coincides with The Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III and the 75th anniversary of Windrush, respectively.
Reflecting on his arrival in London Sir Frank Bowling OBE RA, said ➳ “The moment I arrived in London, I knew I was home.. My uncle met me at Waterloo, and we travelled by Tube to Finchley Road. I wasn’t even listening to what he was saying, I was looking round. It was summertime, and the whole of London town was still into the Coronation. And I went all over London – even up past Piccadilly Circus – travelling on the buses, on the train. It was amazing.”
One of the world’s greatest living abstract painters, Frank Bowling has spent the last six decades of his career dedicated to the exploration of paint and colour, creating a powerful and original style that has influenced the art historical canon. Marking the first time that the artist’s work has been shown in a digital context, Arrival tells the story of his journey from British Guiana to the UK in 1953. Through crossfading two works from his iconic Map Paintings series – Texas Louise (1971) and Australia to Africa (1969-70) – Bowling has created his first digital canvas featuring a cascade of colour:
“The subject of my art is paint—the way that colour washes, spreads, bleeds, and the way that paint-colour emits light. After many decades working on canvas, it was a pleasure to collaborate with CIRCA in creating my first digital artwork. It shows two of my Map Paintings flowing together. It’s a whole world thing – 70 years in the making.”
Bowling travelled to the UK at the age of 19 in May 1953, arriving in London during the Coronation of the late Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June. The presentation of Arrival on London’s Piccadilly Lights coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Empire Windrush arriving on 22 June. The ship brought a large group of Caribbean people to the UK to help rebuild Britain after WWII, with thousands more following in the decades thereafter – a moment which shaped the social and cultural fabric of modern Britain.
In light of the CIRCA 20:23 manifesto: ‘Hope: The Art of Reading What Is Not Yet Written’, Arrival provides a poignant opportunity for global audiences to reflect on the positive societal impact of migration, whilst the UK looks ahead and considers the nation it hopes to become.
Throughout the exhibition, CIRCA will amplify Black Cultural Archives – the home of Black British history which has dedicated over 40 years to celebrating the contributions of African and Caribbean people in the UK From 4 May until 10 June, audiences connected to the Windrush Generation will be invited to upload memories and photos documenting their stories of Arrival to the CIRCA.ART website. An edited film featuring a curated selection of public submissions will be presented on Piccadilly Lights, Thursday 22 June at 8pm, to coincide with Windrush Day celebrations.
MAY – JUNE PROGRAMME
Arrival by Frank Bowling
4 May – 30 June, CIRCA 20:23
20:23 GMT ➳ London, Piccadilly Lights, with a special extended screening on 4 May and 22 June
20:23 CET ➳ Berlin, Limes, Kurfürstendamm
20:23 CET ➳ Milan, Cadorna Square, EssilorLuxottica
20:23 KST ➳ Seoul, COEX K-Pop Square
20:23 PST ➳ Los Angeles, Courtyard Marriott LA Live
20:23 JST ➳ Tokyo, Shibuya Crossing