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The Artist Exploring Skinhead Culture’s Shift from Multiculturalism to Fascism

Throughout August, VICE UK will be spotlighting projects from graduates across University of the Arts London. The first featured artist is Rene Matić.
August 12, 2020, 12:51pm
Rene Matić 'we give lead to britain'
Rene Matić, "we give lead to britain" (2020).
Throughout August, VICE UK will be spotlighting projects from graduates across University of the Arts London.

Every summer, University of the Arts London holds physical showcases for their graduates. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, everything for 2020 has been moved online to UAL Graduate Showcase – a virtual platform created with IBM hosting work from thousands of students across art, design, fashion, communication, media and performing arts.

Throughout August, VICE UK will be spotlighting projects from graduates across the six colleges that make up University of the Arts London.

Artist: Rene Matić

Rene Matić’s work explores the immeasurable dimensions of Blackness through the lens of their own personal experiences as a queer, Black womxn living in the diaspora. In doing so, they aim to expose, combat and question the power relations that pervade the art world and society more widely.

Matić’s current work predominantly explores the skinhead movement, its founding as a multicultural marriage between West Indian and white working-class culture, and its subsequent co-option by far-right white supremacists.

Photos of Life As a Young Skinhead

They use this as a metaphor to examine their own experience of living in the Black British diaspora, and also to excavate white jealousy, the continued legacy of colonialism and the fear of a Black planet – all things which find convergence within and upon their mixed race identity. ​

Working across painting, sculpture, film, photography and textile, Matić’s work attempts to bring to light (or dark) the fated conflicts and contradictions that one encounters while navigating the world in a body like their own.

Watch their final project, “we give a lead to britain”, below, in which Matić retraces the “No Colour Bar” Dance frequently seen at Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton, where Caribbean and British couples danced in 1955.

Rene Matić was chosen as one of this year’s New Contemporaries. You can find more of their work here.

Discover more at the UAL Graduate Showcase.