Elaine Constantine, Steve in his kitchen, 1993–96 / Courtesy the artist
After the End of History
Mar 29 – Jun 16, 2024
Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
Coventry, UK

Launching in March 2024, Hayward Gallery Touring – the UK’s largest contemporary art organisation producing exhibitions that tour Britain – will present After the End of History: British Working Class Photography 1989–2024. The exhibition will bring together working class artists who use photography to explore the nuances of life in all its diversity today, turning their gaze towards both their communities and out to the wider world.

After the End of History will offer a picture of working-class life today; from Rene Matic’s portrait of growing up mixed race in a white working-class community in Peterborough, to Elaine Constaintine’s documentation of the Northern Soul scene, to Kavi Pujara ode to Leicester’s Hindu community, and JA Mortram’s documentation throughout his life of marginalised people while working as a caregiver.

The year 2024 will mark 35 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the symbolic end of Communism. For the economist Francis Fukuyama, writing in the early 1990s, this celebrated triumph of Western Liberal Democracy as the only viable future for global politics represented the “End of History”.

The counter-cultural energies of the 1980s, very often powered up by the alternative ideologies embodied by Communism, and a reaction against Thatcherism, produced a collective, coherent and politically engaged generation of working-class artists. But after the so-called “End of History” was announced in the 1990s, what became of working-class culture and the working class creative? What kind of images has working-class life produced in the last 35 years? After The End of History aims to illuminate these questions.

Among the artists featured in this exhibition are Richard Billingham, Sam Blackwood, Serena Brown, Antony Cairns, Rob Clayton, Joanne Coates, Josh Cole, Artúr Conka, Elaine Constantine, Natasha Edgington, Richard Grassick, Anna Magnowska, Rene Matic, J A Mortram, Kelly O’Brien, Eddie Otchere, Kavi Pujara, Khadija Saye, Chris Shaw, Trevor Smith, Ewen Spencer, Hannah Starkey, Igoris Taran, Nathaniel Telemaque, Barbara Wasiak and Tom Wood.

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