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After the End of History: British Working-Class Photography 1989 – 2024

Focal Point Gallery

Focal Point Gallery is delighted to present ‘After the End of History: Contemporary Working-Class Photography 1989 – 2024‘ which will explore contemporary British working class photography since 1989. Instead of looking at working-class people, the exhibition will explore life through the lenses of working-class practitioners, who have not only turned their gaze towards their own communities but also out towards the world. The year 2024 will mark 35 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the symbolic end of Communism. The weakening of the Soviet Union in the 1980s prompted economist Francis Fukuyama to announce the triumph of Western Liberal Democracy as the only viable future for global politics.

The counter-cultural energies of the 1980s, very often powered up by the alternative ideologies embodied by Communism, produced a collective, coherent, politically engaged generation of working-class artists. But after the so-called ‘End of History’, what became of working-class culture? Who identifies as such, and why? What of the working-class creative? What kind of images has working-class life produced in the last 35 years?

‘After the End of History‘ will offer a counterintuitive picture of working-class life today, from Rene Matić’s portrait of growing up mixed race in a white working-class community in Peterborough, to Elaine Constaintine‘s documentation of the Northern Soul scene, to Kavi Pujara ode to Leicester’s Hindu community, and JA Mortram’s documentation throughout his life as a caregiver. After the End of History will explore the challenges and beauty of contemporary working-class life, in all its diversity today.

Artists in the exhibition will include Richard Billingham, Serena Brown, Rob Clayton, Artur Conka, Josh Cole, Elaine Constantine,, Anna Magnowsk, Rene Matic, J A Mortram, Kelly O’Brien, Eddie Otchere, Charlie Philips, Kavi Pujara, Khadija Saye, Chris Shaw, Ewen Spencer, Hannah Starkey, Nathaniel Telemaque and Barbara Wasiak, amongst others. ‘After the End of History: Contemporary Working-Class Photography 1989 – 2024’ is a Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition curated by Johny Pitts with Hayward Gallery Touring.

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry: 29 March – 16 June 2024
Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea: 3 July – 14 September 2024
Bonington Gallery, Nottingham: 27 September – 15 December 2024


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