Two new exhibitions featuring Chris Braithwaite

Two new exhibitions out now in time for Black History Month 2017 feature the life and work of Chris Braithwaite – in Liverpool and in London.

In Liverpool, at Merseyside Maritime Museum there is an exhibition based largely on the work of Ray Costello, Black Salt: Britain’s Black Sailors and ‘reveals the contribution Black seafarers have made to some of the most significant maritime events of the past 500 years’, and runs until September 2018.

In London, Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives are hosting a new exhibition of artwork on the life and work of Chris Braithwaite by London-based artist Basil Olton, also of Barbadian heritage, who ‘has created a number of new artworks in ceramics reflecting their shared concerns of imperialism and its impact on contemporary British society. The artwork includes clay sculptures as well as archives documenting Chris Braithwaite’s surveillance by the state which have been manipulated by the artist’, and runs until January 2018.  See the full programme of events here:

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:
“Chris Braithwaite was an inspiring and revolutionary black socialist, trade unionist and political activist. The campaigning work that he carried out in the East End in between the wars had a profound effect on the working lives of dockers and seamen in the East End and beyond. So, it is fitting that this exhibition brings to life the work that he did and shines a light on a sometimes overlooked, but very important figure in our local history.”

RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash, said:
“We’re proud to be associated with this important memorial for a genuine working class hero, especially in our time of political instability. Chris Braithwaite’s legacy of political and industrial activism in the face of overt racism and prejudice should be on the national curriculum and both Tower Hamlets Council and Basil Olton are to be congratulated on their work to bring this memorial and exhibition about. When we look at the practice of nationality based pay discrimination in today’s shipping industry, all unions who organise seafarers and dockers have lessons to learn from Chris Braithwaite’s example of steadfast and effective campaigning to end long established employment practices that exploit and discriminate against workers to increase owners’ profits.”


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