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Vanley Burke

Born 1951

Vanley Burke was born in Jamaica and at the age of 14 moved to Handsworth in the West Midlands. He brought with him a Box Brownie camera, that his mother had bought him for his tenth Birthday. He immediately began to use the camera to capture the lives of the community around him. This documentation of black culture and lifestyle came at an important time of migration and change in Britain. Burke’s work provides a record of the diaspora, celebrating the individuals, whilst revealing the trials they faced in their new home.

Now referred to as the ‘Godfather of Black British Photography’ his work is exhibited widely and is held by many collections.

In this short video, student representative on the University Art Collection Committee, Olamide Bamigboye, interviews Vanley about his work.

Anti-Nazi Demonstration, High Street, Deritend 1979-1980
Boy with Flag, Winford in Handsworth Park, 1970
House Party, West Bromwich 01.1969 by Vanley Burke
Out-riders lead the Africa Liberation Day Rally, Rookery Road, Handsworth 1977
Young girls sitting on a wall in Charleville Rd, Handsworth, 1991