Eddie Chambers (writer and artist)

Eddie Chambers
Born1960 (age 60–61)
EducationSunderland Polytechnic
Alma materGoldsmiths College, University of London
Known forBLK Art Group

Eddie Chambers (born 1960)[1] is a British contemporary art historian, curator, artist and Department of Art and Art History professor at the University of Texas at Austin. [2]

Artistic career[]

Chambers was born in Wolverhampton, England, to parents who were immigrants from Jamaica.[3][4] While still a student at Sunderland Polytechnic, where he was studying for a Fine Art degree, Chambers met Trent Polytechnic student Keith Piper. Alongside Marlene Smith[5] and Donald Rodney, they formed the BLK Art Group, a groundbreaking association of Black British art students.[6] The group's highly politicised work, including Chambers' Destruction of the National Front,[7] attracted press attention and critical interest.

Most recently, his work has featured in the exhibition No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960–1990, at the Guildhall Art Gallery (10 July 2015–24 January 2016),[8] as part of which he was in conversation with Errol Lloyd on 13 July 2015, discussing "the impact made by notable Black Artists in the late 20th Century, who have gone largely unnoticed in the British Art Arena".[9]


After leaving the BLK Art Group in the 1980s, Chambers continued to champion the work of other artists, curating exhibitions throughout the UK and internationally, including Black People and the British Flag, Eugene Palmer, Frank Bowling: Bowling on through the Century and Tam Joseph: This is History. In 1998 he was awarded a PhD in History of Art from Goldsmiths College, University of London, for his thesis "Black Visual Arts Activity in England Between 1981–1986: Press and Public Responses".[2] Concerned about the need to document the practice of black artists, in 1989, Chambers set up the African and Asian Visual Artists' Archive (AAVAA), which was the first research and reference facility in the country for documenting British-based Black visual artists.[10][1] Drawing on material in his own collection relating to the visual arts practices of artists particularly from African, South Asian and other diasporas, he also initiated the online research and reference facility Diaspora Artists.[11]


In the 21st century, Chambers moved into the world of academia and art writing - contributing catalogue essays, anthology entries, articles and books with a focus on the work and history of black British and African diaspora artists. Moving to the United States, in 2010 he became an Assistant Professor of art history at the University of Texas, Austin, and also wrote his first substantial work of contemporary art history, Things Done Change: The Cultural Politics of Recent Black Artists in Britain (2012), which garnered enthusiastic responses in leading journals, including Art Review,[12] which described his writing as "excellent" and "nuanced". In 2014, Dr Chambers published an expanded consideration of his themes in Black Artists in British Art: A History from 1950 to the Present.[13]

Selected bibliography[]




  1. ^ a b Axisweb online contributors Archived 25 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b "Dr. Eddie Chambers", People – Department of Art & Art History, College of Fine Arts, The University of Texas at Austin.
  3. ^ "Eddie Chambers", Àsìkò Art School, Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, 2016.
  4. ^ "Eddie Chambers: Interview with Petrine Archer-Straw 1999" Archived 2 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine. In: Annotations 5: Run through the Jungle: Selected Writings by Eddie Chambers. Edited by Gilane Tawadros and Victoria Clarke. London: Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva), 1999, pp. 21–31.
  5. ^ Marlene Smith recounts founding of BLK Art Group on Tate Britain website. Accessed 12 February 2012.
  6. ^ Sandy Nairne, "Black Arts in the Maelstrom", in History Workshop Journal (Spring 2006), 61 (1): 25–30. Oxford University Press.
  7. ^ Jean Fisher, "The Other Story and the Past Imperfect", article citing Destruction of the National Front. Tate Papers, Issue 12, 2009.
  8. ^ "Exhibition: No Colour Bar" Archived 5 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine, City of London.
  9. ^ "Framing Black Visual Art - Meet Eddie Chambers and Errol Lloyd", Artlyst.
  10. ^ "The African and Asian Visual Artists Archive", at VADS.
  11. ^ "Welcome to Diaspora-Artists.net", Diaspora Artists.
  12. ^ Niru Ratnam's review of Things Done Change... in Art Review, September 2012.
  13. ^ "Black Artists in British Art: A History from 1950 to the Present" at I.B. Tauris.
  14. ^ The Routledge companion to African American art history. Chambers, Eddie. New York, NY. 28 November 2019. ISBN 978-1-351-04519-3. OCLC 1110144523.CS1 maint: others (link)
  15. ^ Chambers, Eddie. Roots and culture : cultural politics in the making of black Britain. London. ISBN 978-1-78453-617-6. OCLC 936003083.