Accessibility Tools

In Conversation: Sutapa Biswas and David Olusoga

Sat 19 Feb 18.30 FREE Booking essential

Saturday 19 February 18.30-20.30 GMT

FREE, Booking essential

Join an online discussion with artist Sutapa Biswas and historian, broadcaster and filmmaker David Olusoga, exploring colonial histories, memory, and questions of migration, identity and belonging, that are key considerations in Biswas’s work.

Sutapa Biswas: Lumen

Sutapa Biswas works across a wide range of media including drawing, painting, photography, moving image, installation and performance. This exhibition at BALTIC spans Biswas’s extensive career, from her early photographic series Synapse I (1987–92) to the major new film commission, Lumen (2021). Since the early 1980s, Biswas’s works have explored themes of time and space and the human condition through a decolonial and feminist lens, engaging with oral histories, literature, poetry and art history.

The works in the exhibition investigate deeply personal and historical narratives and are shaped by Biswas’s lived experience as a British-Indian woman. They are connected by recurring themes of motherhood, migration, memory and loss, and ideas of belonging and desire. The works share a poetic sensibility, inviting us to reflect on our own personal histories and family relationships. They also tell unsettling truths, tracing the diasporic experience and confronting the colonial histories of the British Empire.

The exhibition has been developed in partnership with Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge. The film Lumen (2021) has been co-commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art with Art Fund support through the Moving Image Fund for Museums. This programme is made possible thanks to Thomas Dane Gallery and a group of private galleries and individuals. Additionally supported by Arts Council England, Autograph, and Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University.


Sutapa Biswas is a British-Indian artist. After graduating with a BA in Fine Art with Art History from the University of Leeds in 1985 she completed a postgraduate degree at the Slade School of Art in 1990 and thereafter was a research student at the Royal College of Art. Venues that have hosted Biswas’s works include: Tate; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; The British Museum, London; Beppu Contemporary Art Triennial, Japan; 6th Havana Biennial; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Melbourne International Arts Festival; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Arnolfini, Bristol and ICA, London. In 2021–22 Biswas has two major UK solo exhibitions titled Lumen, at BALTIC, Gateshead and at Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge. Her works are hosted in numerous public collections including Tate, the Government Art Collection, UK, and the University of Leeds. She was the Yale Center for British Art Scholar 2019–20, Yale University, and is a Reader in Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University.

David Olusoga is a British-Nigerian historian, broadcaster and filmmaker. His most recent TV series include Empire (BBC 2), Black and British: A Forgotten History (BBC 2), The World’s War (BBC 2), four seasons of A House Through Time (BBC 2) and the BAFTA winning Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners (BBC 2). Olusoga is also the author of Black & British: A Forgotten History which was awarded both the Longman-History Today Trustees Award and the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize. His other books include The World’s War, which won First World War Book of the Year in 2015, The Kaiser’s Holocaust: Germany’s Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism and Civilizations: Encounters and the Cult of Progress. Olusoga is also a contributor to the Oxford Companion to Black British History and writes for The Guardian and is a columnist for The Observer and BBC History Magazine. He is also one of the three presenters on the BBC's landmark Arts series Civilizations. In 2020 he held an exclusive interview with former President of the United States, Barack Obama. Olusoga's most recent book Black and British: A Short, Essential History won the Children's Illustrated & Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the 2021 British Book Awards.


We want our events to be inclusive and accessible. Live transcription will be available during each of our online events. This event can be supported by a British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreter. You can let us know about any requirements you have when you book your ticket.