Rita Keegan: The Hands Series

I wanted to share this thought-provoking piece of work by Black American artist Rita Keegan – the third piece from the Women’s Art Library to be installed on our campus at Goldsmiths.

Born in the Bronx, Rita Keegan has been based in London since 1980. She has played a vital role in raising the profile of Black artists in the UK, particularly in her work to establish the Women Artists of Colour Index in the 1980s and 1990s.

This artwork is titled ‘The Hands Series’. It is a patchwork of photocopied self-portraits taken from books housed in the Women Artists Slide Library, where Keegan was a staff member.

Keegan has explained that the use of photocopied images gives the work a sense of accessibility – “the art of immediacy” – and helps to evoke the idea of “secretarial work” or “women’s work”. She added elements of her own self-portraits to the piece, as well as tracing her handprints.

Rita lectured at Goldsmiths from 1995-2000, teaching New Media and Digital Diversity, and helped to set up studies in digital media. I’m delighted to have her work on permanent display at the College.

The Women’s Art Library is part of Goldsmiths’ Special Collections and Archives – find out more here.