A retrospective of the work of Pearl Alcock at 198 Contemporary Arts Centre, Brixton, from June 15 to August 14, 2022 – Brixton Buzz

Known as the ‘black bisexual shebeen queen of brixton,’ Pearl Alcock was a Jamaican-born foreign artist who ran underground gay bars and created crucial spaces for the black gay community in Railton Road.

Thirty-five years after her iconic solo exhibition ‘Mood Paintings’ at the 198 Gallery in 1989, a new exhibition will showcase Alcock’s work, not far from where she lived and ran her café and shebeen.

Find out more about the free exhibition at 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning in Railton Road:

Coming Home celebrates the life of Pearl Alcock and explores her legacy in today’s era of social justice, racial equality and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. To this end, and to honor the local Brixton hero that she was, part of the gallery space will be converted into a café.

This exhibition is a rare opportunity to experience Alcock’s work, with 46 works of art ranging from abstract paintings, landscapes, figurative drawings and sketches. Full of patterns and movements, this colorful work recalls a life in a different world, perhaps a lost paradise.

Ultimately, Coming Home depicts Alcock’s creative journey of reinventing himself and invites the viewer into his vibrant and intimate subjective realm.

Alcock became an artist by accident at the age of 50. Unable to afford a birthday card for a friend, she made one instead, using magic markers.

This was the start of his creative journey. She began painting and drawing at night by candlelight and produced over 300 works of art; some of which were acquired by collectors Monika Kinley and Victor Musgrave to form part of the Outsider art collection – now offered as part of The Whitworth’s permanent collection.

She gained mainstream recognition in 2005, a year before her death, when she was featured at Tate Britain in their ‘Outsider Art’ exhibition.

Alcock came to the UK from Jamaica in 1958 as part of the Windrush generation. She moved to Brixton and opened a bridal shop on Railton Road.

The basement quickly became a “shebeen” – an unlicensed bar – which became a safe space for the black gay community.

More information

Coming Home – a retrospective of the work of Pearl Alcock
June 15 – August 14, 2022

198 Contemporary Arts and Learning,
198 Railton Road, SE24 0JT
Such. +44(0)207 978 8309, email: [email protected]


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