Join us at Stills for the preview of Johny Pitts: Home is Not a Place.
In 2021, photographer Johny Pitts and poet Roger Robinson rented a red Mini Cooper and circumnavigated the British coast clockwise in search of Black history and communities. They began in London and followed the river Thames east towards Tilbury, where the Empire Windrush docked in 1948. Then they continued through Margate, Dover, Brighton, Southampton, Plymouth, Land’s End,
Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Blackpool, Belfast, Glasgow, John O’Groats, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Scarborough, Hull, Skegness, Orford Ness and Southend-on-Sea.
They encountered Black British culture overlooked in official narratives, alongside the history of Empire and transatlantic slavery, to which every Briton is tethered.
The exhibition Home is Not a Place presents Pitts’ photographs from this journey within an installation divided into two parts for Stills’ gallery space. Pitts has created rooms representative of the past, present and future by merging objects from his childhood home with cultural influences from across the globe, underpinned by the ideas of seminal Black thinkers. Pitts has treated objects from his multicultural working-class home in Sheffield as relics – family recordings from VHS tapes, albums of family photographs, a ‘Welcome Table’ made by artist Chantal Pitts, inspired by James Baldwin’s unfinished novel of the same name, and the sound of 1990s mixtapes recorded from SCR, a black-run pirate radio station from Sheffield.
This exhibition is an important continuation of Pitts’ work to make every day Black experiences visible, creating an ‘alternative archive for the future’.
Johny Pitts is a photographer and writer born in Sheffield. He is the winner of the 2020 Jhalak Prize and the 2021 European Essay Prize. He lives and works in London.
Roger Robinson is a poet and writer. He is the winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize 2019, The RSL Ondaatje Prize 2020 and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
This exhibition was commissioned through the Ampersand/Photoworks Fellowship, a collaboration between The Ampersand Foundation and Photoworks, supported by Arts Council England.