Bold Resilience and Rightful Restoration (KAREN McLEAN)

June 11, 2021

Guest artist KAREN McLEAN

joins Elizabeth Fullerton to chat about her work via Colson Whitehead's 2016 novel 'The Underground Railroad' published by Doubleday. The historical fiction tells of 19th century slaves Cora and Caesar and their attempts to escape to freedom in America's south west.


Starting with her intensely researched art practice, Karen McLean and Elizabeth explore stories of rebellion and suffering amongst individuals and the collective, including female power, body ownership, intergenerational identity, mental illness and a vast knowledge of plants used as a method of resistance. They also delve into the structural legacies created by the sugar, cotton and indigo industries; colonialism, covert operations, syncretic religions, and the rise of the blue devil.


(This episode is co-produced by Jillian Knipe and Elizabeth Fullerton with music by Griffin Knipe and image by Joanna Quinn of Beryl Productions)



instagram karenmclean_art

'Blue Power' 2021 Block 336

'Ar'n't I A Woman' 2021 Block 336

'The Precariat' 2017 Lewisham Arthouse


Anish Kapoor

Donald Judd

Doris Salcedo

El Anatsui

Eva Hesse 'Contingent' 1968

Gees Bend Quiltmakers, Alabama

Ibrahim Mahama

Joseph Beuys

Kara Walker

Louise Bourgeois

Paul Goodwin

Sheila Gowda

Teresa Margolles

Theaster Gates

Tracey Emin


Alan Krell 'The Devil's Rope: A Cultural History of Barbed Wire' 2002

Alice Walker 'Everyday Use' 1973

Bell Hooks 'Ain't I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism' 1981

Deborah Grey White 'Ar'n't I A Woman' 1985

Edward Said (Professor of Literature, Columbia University)

Emily Zobel Marshall 'Anansi's Journey: A Story of Jamaican Cultural Resistance' 2012

Harriet Tubman, 'Harriet' film 2019

Hilary Beckles 'Natural Rebels' 1989

Homi Bhabha 'Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse' 1984

Jacques Lacan (psychoanalyst)

Sojourner Truth (abolotionist, women's rights activist) 'Ain't I A Woman' speech 1851

Toni Morrison 'Beloved' 1987


Afterprojects, Julie Bentley

Birmingham City University

Black Cultural Archives, Brixton UK

Block 336, Brixton UK

Gees Bend Quilting Retreat

Goldsmiths University of London UK

King's Cross Station, London UK

Shakespeare's House, Stratford UK

The Gale Plantation, Jamaica, Caribbean

The New Art Gallery, Walsall UK

The Steamhouse, Birmingham UK

Trinidad & Tobago, Caribbean



Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App