BLACK ICONS: African Art at the British Library

Black Icons, FAD Projects, Heritage

FAD have been busy for the last month running workshops with our Black Icons of the British Jazz Age volunteers.

Aged 16-24 years old the young people involved have been visiting archives across London, to gather information about the lives of black people living in the capital during the 1920s & 30s.

Last month they spent a day at the British Library gathering inspiration from their amazing journals, books and sound archives. The audio interviews in particular gave a fascinating insight into the experience of black people living in British society at that time, and prompted lots of lively discussion.


Our volunteers were also given access to the West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song exhibition. Art from West Africa holds a lot of parallels with the Art Deco design movement of the 1920s, with lots of European designers and artists such as Picasso looking to Africa for inspiration.

Many of the graphic symbols and patterns seen in the West Africa exhibition can be directly translated into art deco inspired prints and patterns, and our young volunteers made the most of this drawing opportunity.

Look out for their finished print designs in our next Black Icons blog post. A big thank you to the British Library Team. Read more about FAD’s latest heritage project here.




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