Somerset House: GENERATIONS: Connecting Across Time and Place

Donald Rodney, In the House of My Father, 1997. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the Estate of Donald G Rodney.


From baby boomers to millennials or generation X, Y and Z, society is obsessed with what makes one generation different from the last. Yet, people all share collective pasts and presents. For the 12th year of The Courtauld Institute’s MA Curating the Art Museum programme, the students are pleased to announce their summer exhibition GENERATIONS: Connecting Across Time and Place. Relocating from the familiar walls of The Courtauld Gallery, this year’s exhibition is held in the East Wing Galleries of Somerset House and gathers the work of eleven UK-based contemporary artists. Some artists consider the stories, memories and even genes that we inherit from our families. Others confront more distant generations, showing the continuing importance of historical figures and events.

The artists selected span different generations themselves, and are represented by works created from the 1980s to the present day. This exhibition includes works by Hurvin Anderson, Helen Cammock and Hardeep Pandhal and showcases a variety of media ranging from photography to sculpture, painting and video. In, a series of 85 patterned oil paintings, Lubaina Himid imagines conversations between enslaved plantation labourers and Manchester millworkers. Lucy Skaer’s sculpture Leonora (The Tyrant)interrogates the colonial trading histories of exporting tropical hardwood and Pacific mother-of-pearl to England. On a more intimate level, Donald Rodney’s photograph In the House of My Father addresses the artist’s battle with sickle cell anaemia, a hereditary disease. The work depicts Rodney’s hand holding a miniature house made of his own skin.

The conversations established between these works will invite visitors to reflect upon how individual and collective identities are formed. The exhibition explores the memories we cherish and the histories we confront. What is to be gained by returning to these personal and collective experiences time and time again? Do we need to confront our difficult histories to help make sense of our present identities?

The exhibition is made possible by the generous support of Christian Levett, founder of the Musée d’Art Classique de Mougins and Minerva Magazine, by the Arts Council Collection and by LUX.


Image credit: Donald Rodney, In the House of My Father, 1997. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the Estate of Donald G Rodney.



Hurvin Anderson
Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom
Helen Cammock
Alejandra Carles-Tolra
Mona Hatoum
Susan Hiller
Lubaina Himid
Hardeep Pandhal
Joanna Piotrowska
Kathy Prendergast
Donald Rodney
Lucy Skaer


East Wing Galleries, Ground floor, Somerset House
Strand London WC2R 0RN

Opening Hours:
Saturday – Tuesday 10:00 – 18:00
Wednesday – Friday 11:00 – 20:00

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