Past Events

Re-Making the Tudors

Public Event Series – Chan-Hyo Bae, Peter Brathwaite, Mat Collishaw, The Singh Twins

  • 22 June 2023
  • 5:00 – 7:00 pm
  • Part of Tudors Now!, a public event series convened by Christina Faraday
  • Paul Mellon Centre and Online

The Tudor century witnessed developments across a huge variety of cultural areas, including politics, gender, national identity and race. A period when women were seen as inferior to men, but when two queens reigned; when Black people lived and worked free of systematic racial oppression, but which saw the development of colonial ambitions and the birth of the transatlantic slave trade. The Tudor period’s contradictions and complications, combined with its vivid imagery, make it an ongoing source of fascination for contemporary artists. In this session, artists working across a variety of media will discuss the inspiration that Tudor art and culture hold for them.

Suggested Reading:

Titles with an asterisk are available in the Paul Mellon Centre Library.

Peter Brathwaite, Rediscovering Black Portraiture.New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2023. *

Mat Collishaw, “Mask of Youth, Queen’s House, Greenwich”.

Alasdair Foster, “Chan-Hyo Bae: Existing in Costume”, interview for Talking Pictures.

Miranda Kaufmann, Black Tudors: The Untold Story.London: Oneworld Publications, 2017. *

Onyeka Nubia, England’s Other Countrymen: Black Tudor Society.London: Bloomsbury, 2019. *

Listing image credit: Mat Collishaw, The Mask of Youth, 2018, mixed media, 132 x 118 x 25 cm. Digital image courtesy of Mat Collishaw (All Rights Reserved)

About the speakers

  • Chan-Hyo Bae received an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London and a BA in Photography from Kyungsung University, Busan, South Korea. He is currently living and working in London.

    Culture, prejudice and stereotypes are themes explored in his work. Since graduating in 2007, he has been expressing in his work the cultural and emotional estrangement he experienced in the UK. Several series with the title Existing in Costume (2006–2016) found him posing in a variety of female historical Western costumes, integrating himself into a history and society from which he felt excluded. Researched in meticulous detail, he created elaborate scenes of himself as a noblewoman from Elizabethan to Victorian periods. Through this series, he explored the idea of placing oneself into a collective consciousness within the dimensions of nationality.

  • Peter Brathwaite is a British opera singer who works across different art forms to excavate and platform suppressed stories and voices. In addition to performing on major international opera stages, he devises his own theatre productions. Peter has been shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award and his collaborative work has won a Laurence Olivier Award. His photographic series has been exhibited by King’s College London/Wellcome Trust and the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. As a broadcaster for BBC Radio 3, he has authored and presented programmes on Black portraiture and the cultural legacy of enslavement in Barbados. He has written for the Guardian and the Independent, and is a prominent speaker on performance, identity and restorative justice in the arts.

  • Mat Collishaw is one of the most significant and compelling artists in contemporary British art. Following his training at Goldsmiths College, Mat formed part of the legendary movement of Young British Artists (YBAs). He was one of sixteen young artists who participated in the seminal Freeze exhibition organised by Damien Hirst in 1988 as well as the provocative Sensation show of 1997 at the Royal Academy, London.

    Throughout his thirty-year career,he has contemplated the nature of the human subconscious and explored ways to influence it through various media. Through optical illusions, paintings, projections and moving sculptures, Mat creates works and scenarios that directly and unconsciously engage their viewers. The works encourage us to think about fundamental questions of psychology, history, sociology and science. Behind the richness and visual appeal of each work there is a deep exploration of how we perceive and are influenced by the world today through images and modern technology. Questions regarding behavioural manipulation, programming and temporal reality all linger in the viewing experience.

  • The Singh Twins are internationally renowned, award-winning contemporary British artists whose work, which challenges narrow Eurocentric perceptions of art, heritage and identity, is described by Sir Simon Schama as representing the "artistic face of modern Britain". Formal recognition includes an MBE, three honorary doctorates and honorary citizenships of Liverpool for their “outstanding contribution” to contemporary art. Referring to their art as Past-Modern, the Twins feature in both the Oxford Encyclopaedia of Women in World History and the Oxford History of Art, Portraiture series. Solo exhibitions include Contemporary Connections: The Singh Twins at the National Portrait Gallery, London (curated in response to the NPG’s Tudor collection) and The Singh Twins: Slaves of Fashion which includes references to the Tudors in connection with narratives of Empire and colonialism.