Kenlock arrived in Britain from the West Indies in 1963, working as a studio portraitist before becoming a staff photographer for West Indian World, one of the first black British newspapers. He chronicled the British Black Panthers in the early 1970s as well as everyday racism – his portrait of a young black woman standing by a door scrawled with the words “Keep Britain White” carries a charge to this day in its merging of the dignified and the obscene. (It is on show at the BCA exhibition in Brixton). More intimate, though, are his portraits of British West Indians at home, posing proudly with their newly acquired possessions. In one, a young woman sits in front of her TV set framed by gold curtains, the room a dizzying mix of stripes and swirls. In another, a young girl poses with a phone as if speaking to relatives back home.
View Kenlock’s photographs
Exhibition: Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s-1990s
Date: 16 February 2015 – 24 May 2015
Opening times: 10am to 5.45pm daily and 10am to 10pm Fridays
Website: Victoria and Albert Museum