Black because it has power in it...

Sinclair, Rose. 2022. 'Black because it has power in it...'. In: Belonging: Dialogues for culturally responsive art & design education. Online Conference, United Kingdom 11 - 13 November 2022. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

Black because it has power in it ......’

“Black because it has power in it” words Althea McNish used in an interview to describe the different colours she applied to her designs and why, red was her favourite, and grey was a ‘none’ colour.

The first retrospective of the work of iconic designer Althea McNish, described as the first designer of Caribbean heritage to achieve international recognition, opened to critical acclaim at the William Morris Gallery in April 2022, nearly two years after her passing.

Althea from the outset at her arrival at the Central School of Printing in 1951, set out to prove that she could know everything there was to know about ‘serigraphy’ ( silk screen- printing) and therefore use the technical acuity she acquired to push forward with the creative freedom she knew she wanted to apply to her textiles designs. Thus creating a range of textiles, mural and wallpapers and much more that challenged design parameters and would have contemporaries following her approach to colour.

Forty years ago Althea presented her work at the NSEAD national conference and it was described as a highlight - 40 years on, I want to re-present her work in a retrospective and reflective space, revisiting her quote ... “Black because it has power in it” .

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)


textiles, Althea McNish, print, culture, art

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



13 November 2022Completed

Event Location:

Online Conference, United Kingdom

Date range:

11 - 13 November 2022

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

28 Mar 2024 09:36

Last Modified:

28 Mar 2024 09:36


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