Nature of the Beast - Afterword
… London has always had the highest concentration of Black artists in the country. Simultaneously, however, it’s always been (with sporadic and problematic exception) the city in which Black artists have had the most derisory profile. In thirty years, no amount of institutional tinkering has changed that. There can be no greater evidence of the wholesale failure of ‘diversity’ initiatives within the visual arts than this. It can, unfortunately, be expected, as Hylton predicts, that the establishment of the inIVA/Autograph Rivington Place venture will work to solidify (rather than challenge) Black artists’ exclusion from London’s principal galleries.
Hylton’s study points out to us, or reminds us, of the severe limits of half-hearted institutional efforts to diversify the art world. The high point, thus far, in the collective fortunes of Britain’s Black artists seems to have been the relatively intense level of activity generated in the 1980s. But the bulk of this activity took place outside of any of the Arts Council’s numerous initiatives on cultural diversity. In this instance, we can be sure that bottom up has been way more effective than top down…
The above extracts are from an Afterword by Eddie Chambers for Richard Hylton's book, The Nature of the Beast: Cultural Diversity and the Visual Arts Sector: A Study of Policies, Initiatives and Attitudes 1976 - 2006, Institute of Contemporary Interdisciplinary Arts, Bath, 2007: 166-167