Wednesday 30 December 2020

Denzil Forrester awarded MBE in the UK's New Year Honours List 2021

The Queen's New Year Honours list recognises the achievements of a wide range of outstanding individuals from across the United Kingdom. We are pleased to announce that this year Denzil Forrester has been awarded Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Visual Arts.

Forrester's vibrant, colourful works immortalise the dynamic energy of the London reggae and dub nightclub scene during the early 1980s. Forrester’s public work includes a large-scale mural for Brixton underground station, ‘Brixton Blue’ in 2018. His current exhibition 'Itchin & Scratchin' at Spike Island spans Forrester's engagement with the dimly lit dancehalls of 1980s East London to the present-day open-air clubs of Jamaica.

Born in Grenada in 1956, Forrester moved to London in 1967. He now lives and works in Cornwall, UK. Forrester received a BA in Fine Art from the Central School of Art, London in 1979 and an MA in Fine Art from the Royal College of Art, London in 1983. He was awarded the Morley Fellowship from Morley College, London in 2019; a Harkness Fellowship in New York in 1986-88; and a scholarship by the British School at Rome in 1983-85.

Pulsating with rhythm, the artist's expressive depictions of dance halls and clubs capture crowds of people moving in unison with the beat of the music. Flashes of vivid colour, gestural brushstrokes and frenetic compositions characterise his work. Forrester explains: “I just wanted to draw movement, action and expression. I was interested in the energy of the crowd, particular dance movements and what the clubbers wore. In these clubs, city life is recreated in essence: sounds, lights, police sirens, bodies pushing and swaying in a smoke-filled room.”

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