Michael Forbes

Forbes work is a physical manifestation of his cultural experience and history – he is informed by political and social histories of Africa, Caribbean, America and Europe – and how these histories are shaping the 21st century, in-terms of power, wealth, poverty, education and migration.

The Black Diaspora plays an important part in his thinking in relation to social / political issues around education, intellectual poverty, race, masculinity, exclusion, and wealth – which manifest itself in a range of his work.
Forbes practice includes sculpture, photography and painting, which allows him to discuss his broad interests in the appropriate form for the work, thereby not being restricted by the medium

Forbes has been working on a number of photographic projects over many years, including Carnival… beyond the glitz of the parade. This work draws on the tradition of the African masquerade and the 16th Century European Carnevale, which came together in the Caribbean and evolved further in the UK, with particular focus on events surrounding the sound systems.

Facing Black
Recently this new work has been inspired by the fashion and fake handbag industry and Forbes sculptural work, The Masquerade.
Forbes has been researching a range of visuals from the Fashion industry, particularly new designer handbags and high-end shop windows. He is intrigued by the process of stimulating desire through the branding of high quality goods – this work is still in development.

The Masquerade
The developing World Order intrigues Forbes, with the rise of China in Africa and the Chinese population dominating areas of world trade and manufacturing. Forbes sees this in his practice, with the Chinese importing into Europe, fake designer goods, which are sold by African migrants on the streets of Europe.
Forbes is keen to explore the above human issues using fake designer handbags, African masks, carvings, 15th Century reproduction figurines and contemporary found objects.
Spending some time in Italy over the last couple of years has inspired Forbes to develop new work, which joins the dots of a number of conversations; including the migration narrative, fake designer bags industry in cities, such as Milan and Naples.
Belgium is also a fertile ground for further development of the work, with sourcing objects and the migrant narrative.
Collecting is an important part of Forbes’ practice, which includes extensive travel to Car Boots sales, Antique Fairs and Flea Markets in the UK and Europe. The objects Forbes collect have their own individual narratives, but it is when they come together in the studio the dialogues the experiments begin.

Primary and New Art Exchange
Forbes is the Chair of Trustees and Directors and a founding member of Primary and played a leading role in developing the New Art Exchange, Nottingham and its’ programme from 1999 – 2010.

CV / Resume
2018 Reformation – Yinka Shonibare’s Guest Project. Group show – Nadim Chaudry, Michael Forbes, Barbara Walker
2018 Diaspora Pavilion – Wolverhampton Art Gallery
2017 Venice – Diaspora Platform – International Curators Forum, at Palazzo Santa Marina. see link for further details
2016 Nottingham Castle Open – winner of the Nottingham Castle purchase prize, for their photography collection
2016 Untitled, Harley Gallery, Welbeck Estate, Nottinghamshire
2015 Acquisition, Quad, Derby
2014 Since 1843: In the Making, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham
2012 Next Generation: Contemporary American Photography, Pasinger Fabrik Amerika Haus, Munich
2012 CPT:Time, History and Memory, Gallatin Galleries, New York
2011 Metropolitan Wonderland, ISCP, New York
2011 Souls Of The Diaspora, ISCP, New York
2008 Next We Change Earth, The New Art Exchange, Nottingham
2007 The Redemptive Beauty Of Life After Death, The Bonington Gallery, Nottingham
2006 When Men And Mountain Meet, Gallery One, Zagreb
2006 Mostyn 2006 Open Exhibition, Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno
2003 Celebration Of Death, Photo Club Zagreb, Zagreb
2003 Shot In JA, Picture House Centre for Photography, Leicester
2003 Celebration Of Death, Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana
2001 International Print Competition, The Royal Photographic Society, Bath
1997 Recontres Internationales De La Photographie, Arles, France

Curatorial Projects
2018 Reformation – Guest Project. Group show – Nadim Chaudry, Michael Forbes, Barbara Walker
2012 Untitled, Nadim Chaudry, Marek Tobolewski, Yelena Popova, Primary, Nottingham
2010 Because I Can – Group Show Mik Godley, Nadim Chaudry Paul Gant, Sarah R Keys – ‘Pop Up’ space Nottingham
2010 Inconsistency Of Everything, Harminder Singh Judge, New Art Exchange, Nottingham
2009 Strength Of Feeling, Sokari Douglas Camp, New Art Exchange, Nottingham
2008 Next We Change Earth, The New Art Exchange, Nottingham
2008 Once Upon A Time In The West There Was Lace, Godfried Donkor, Yard Gallery, Nottingham

2018 Nominated for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Artist Awards
2017 Winner of Black Achievers Award for Arts, Media and Culture
2015 Artist Benevolent Fund
2015 European Regional Development Fund
2018 Arts Council England Grants for the Arts
2010/2011 Arts Council England Grants for the Arts
2005/2006 Arts Council England Grants for the Arts
2002 Nominated for the CitiBank Photography prize

2016 – 2018 The International Curators Forum (ICF), in partnership with University of the Arts London (UAL) Mentor: Director of International Curators Forum, David A Bailey
2011 International Studio & Curators programme, New York.
2002 Liquid Light, Jamaica
2002 Pavilion, Leeds

Work History
2013 – 2018 Artist Curator Design – Forbes Projects
1999 – 2001 Visual Arts Officer, EMACA (East Midlands African Caribbean Arts), Nottingham.
2003 – 2018 Voluntary work – Chair of Trustee and Directors of Nottingham Studios, Nottingham.

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