1947 (age 73–74)
|Education||Central School of Art and Design; Slade School of Art, University of London|
|Spirit of the Carnival;|
UK School Report
Tam Joseph (born 1947) is a Dominica-born British painter, formerly known as Tom Joseph. Described as "a uniquely talented, multidimensional artist" by art historian Eddie Chambers, "Tam Joseph has contributed a number of memorable paintings that locate themselves at the centre of socio-political commentary, often making work that shocks as it amuses, amuses as it shocks. Typical in this regard are paintings for which Joseph is universally loved and respected, such as 'Spirit of the Carnival' and 'UK School Report'."
Born in the Commonwealth of Dominica, Joseph came at the age of eight to London, where he still lives and works. In 1967 he studied at the Central School of Art and Design, following this with a BA course at the Slade School of Art, University of London. He worked on Yellow Submarine, the 1968 animated film featuring the Beatles. He travelled in Europe and the Far East during the 1970s, and subsequently enrolled at the London College of Printing, graduating with a Dip AD in Typographic design. While working for the magazine Africa Journal in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he also travelled extensively in Africa. In 1979 he illustrated Buchi Emecheta's children's book Titch the Cat, published by Allison and Busby.
In the documentary film Tam Joseph; Work in Progress he talks about his start as a painter and how he enjoys using tools he himself has made. This film was made over a period spanning seven years (2011–2017) and includes his work in sculpture, painting and graphic design.
He recognises Pablo Picasso as one of his main references in sculpture and admires how he was capable of looking at things and offering a new interpretation of them.
One of Joseph's best known paintings is his 1983 work Spirit of the Carnival, a reference to the Notting Hill Carnival. Another notable work, dating from 1983, is UK School Report, which depicts the passage of a Black youth through the British education system in three portraits that are captioned: "Good at sports", "Likes music" and "Needs surveillance".
His exhibitions have included: Caribbean Art at the Crossroads, El Museo del Barrio, Studio Museum in Harlem and Queens Museum, 2012; This is History, Gallery II and touring, 1998; Learning to Walk, Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Stirling, and touring; Us and Dem, Storey Institute, Lancaster, 1994; Back to School, The Showroom, London, 1989; Black Art: Plotting the Course, Oldham Art Gallery and touring, 1988; Big Yellow, Bedford Hill Gallery, 1988; Observers are Worried, Painting and Sculpture, St Pancras Library and Shaw Theatre, London, 1986; Monkey Dey Chop, Baboon Dey Cry, Barbican Arts Centre, London, 1984. His work was included in the recent exhibition No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960–1990 at London's Guildhall Art Gallery (10 July 2015 – 24 January 2016).
–– Creation For Liberation 2nd Open Exhibition By Black Artists, Brixton Art Gallery, London
–– Prema Art Gallery, Gloucestershire, The Old Mill, Uley
–– The Artist Abroad, Lincolnshire, Usher Gallery
–– Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield
–– Crossing the Waters, Cartwright Hall, Bradford
–– Pic n'Mix, Woolworth, Leytonstone High Road, London
–– Tehran Calling, London Print Workshop