Family Living

Denzil Forrester (1956 - )

oil on canvas


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© Denzil Forrester. Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

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  • About the work
    Country: USA
    City: New York
    Place: British Consulate-General
    Around the late 1990s, Denzil Forrester began to move away from his signature paintings of nightclubs, instead looking back to the time  he had arrived in England from Grenada in 1967. Aged eleven, he had had to wait six months before he could start school. During that period, he helped his mother sew bags in the basement of their Stoke Newington home late into the evening. In this painting, his childhood evenings blend with his nights (as a young man) in the basement clubs. The domestic scene of Singer sewing machines and tumble dryers is painted in a dancehall style. As Director of Nottingham Contemporary, Sam Thorne noted: ‘These works speak to the back-and-forth between house and club, birth family and elected family, private and public.

    Denzil Forrester's vibrant, colourful works immortalise the dynamic energy of the London reggae and dub nightclub scene during the early 1980s. Pulsating with rhythm, the artist's expressive depictions capture crowds of people moving in unison with the beat of the music. Flashes of vivid colour, gestural brushstrokes and frenetic compositions characterise his work.

  • About the artist
    Born in Grenada in 1956, Denzil Forrester moved to London in 1967. He received a BA in Fine Art from the Central School of Art, London in 1979 and an MA in Fine Art from the Royal College of Art, London in 1983. He was awarded a scholarship by the British School at Rome in 1983-85 and a Harkness Fellowship in New York in 1986-88. He now lives and works in Cornwall, UK.
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  • Details
    Family Living
    oil on canvas
    height: 142.5 cm; width: 183.0 cm; depth:5.1 cm
    Purchased from the artist via Stephen Friedman Gallery, September 2019
    verso: inscribed by the artist 'Denzil Forrester', bottom right
    Stephen Friedman Gallery, London UK; from whom purchased by UK Government Art Collection, 12 September 2019
    GAC number