Print has always been an art form for everyone - relatively cheap to produce and easy to distribute, and intended to be accessible to all. It links to painting, and creative autographic expression, as well as to a tradition of satire and protest, both social and political. Above all, prints are a means of communication and cultural exchange and, in the context of Africa and the African diaspora, these qualities have had a particular resonance. The book covers the period from 1960, presenting and interpreting a variety of visual images from the V&A collections in terms of their political and social context, while also addressing their identity as art and design. It includes prints by Uzo Egonu, Carrie Mae Weems and Chris Ofili among others, as well as overtly political work, such as posters attacking the Apartheid policies of South Africa and material produced by American Black Power organizations.
Gill Saunders is Senior Curator of Prints at the V&A. She has written widely on contemporary art and her publications include Prints Now (with Rosie Miles; V&A, 2006) and Walls Are Talking (KWS/ Manchester UP, 2010). She was the co-curator of Surface Noise, a show of contemporary printmaking at the Jerwood Gallery, London, in 2011, and an exhibition 0n street art that travelled to Libya in 2012. Zoe Whitley is a curator at the V&A. She is currently conducting doctoral research into curating in the black diaspora, having curated exhibitions including Africa: Exploring Hidden Histories (2012) and Uncomfortable Truths (2007). She contributed to Postmodernism: Style and Subversion (V&A, 2011).