'A chronicle of mutual discoveries in which individuals and culturesare changed by the repercussions of connection.' Ekow Eshun From the seventeenth century, largely as a result of British colonial expansion, non-European visitors to England caused widespread frissons of excitement, interest and curiosity in social circles across the capital. This book examines the complexities and ambiguities of encounters between these visitors and their British contemporaries over 150 years. These visitors from former British colonies, including North America, the South Pacific, India and Africa; their reasons for coming and their reception in Britain were as diverse as their backgrounds. Their stories, their impressions and the impact they had on British society are examined here for the first time. The book brings to life the fascinating accounts of a small but diverse group of fourteen individuals, including the 'Four Indian Kings' from Canada and Mai from the South Pacific, Raja Rammonhun Roy from India and Sara Baartman 'The Hottentot Venus' from Africa. In addition to its art-historical import, this timely account is of real contemporary cultural resonance.
Published to accompany an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London from 8 March to 15 June 2007.
Ekow Eshun is Artistic Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Professor Jos Hackforth-Jones is Provost and Professor of Art History at Richmond The American International University in London. Professor David Bindman was formerly Durning -Lawrence Professor of Art at University College, London. Dr Stephanie Pratt is Principal Lecturer in Art History at University of Plymouth, UK. Dr Romita Ray is Assistant Professor of Art History at Syracuse University, USA.