Lifeline a retrospective of works by Paul Dash at 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning
Born in Barbados and a member of the Windrush generation, Paul Dash has been painting since his teenage years in the 1960s.
“Lifeline” is his first major solo exhibition and brings together works spanning more than 50 years. Drawing inspiration from his Caribbean heritage and today’s refugee crisis, he uses a a variety of techniques to create individual pieces.
Twenty four of his paintings and drawings are hung in two spacious rooms and represent his artistic journey. And there are many changes along the way. His early figurative work is a little subdued and tentative, unlike his later works which are large, impressionistic canvases, full of colour and confidence.
He is interested in crowds of people on the move – joyful celebrations, masquerades and dances, but also disturbing images of refugees in overcrowded boats. His technique develops and changes – from figurative through impressionistic to abstract, and he seems equally at home with pen and ink as with oil and acrylic paint. “Whirling Dervish Parade” is a fine example of a tightly rendered drawing but full of movement and energy. By contrast, “Reggae in the Park” is a much looser, floating, abstract piece which, interestingly, he painted in oil and acrylic on the floor rather than an easel.
Paul Dash’s personal journey from Barbados in the 1950s to present-day London was painful and difficult. Like all migrants from that time he suffered racism and rejection. His art provided both an escape and ultimately, a road to success – albeit a rocky one. The result is paintings and drawings which will make you look and make you think.
Until 29 March in 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, 198 Railton Road, SE24 0JT. Open Monday – Friday 11am – 5pm. Call 020 7978 8309 or visit www.198.org.uk.