Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F , Case SP, Shelf 6

Bagga, vocalist with Matumbi, Hackney, London, 1978

Photograph
1978 (photographed), 2012 (printed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Born in Yorkshire in 1947, photographer Syd Shelton documented resistance to racism in Britain during the 1970s and 1980s. Shelton became the official photographer for Rock Against Racism, a collective of political activists and musicians that organised concerts with an anti-racist message across the country. The popular British reggae group Matumbi were one of the bands to play at these events, alongside punk bands like The Clash.

This photograph depicts Matumbi’s lead singer Bevin ‘Bagga’ Fagan (1954-2008) offstage in London, where the band first formed. Bagga’s defiant stance suggests the need to confront racist attitudes on the street as well as through music in order to create an equal future for black and white people. This kind of direct action was realised in a wave of political demonstrations during this period.

The V&A acquired three of Shelton’s photographs as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gelatin silver print
Brief Description
Photograph by Syd Shelton, 'Bagga, vocalist with Matumbi, Hackney, London, 1978', gelatin silver print, London, 1978, printed 2012
Physical Description
A black and white photograph of a man stood legs apart in front of a wall made up of splattered wooden planks with a painted sign above it that reads 'Continental Services'. The man is wearing sunglasses and a hat, with one hand in his left pocket and the other holding a glass bottle. Behind him, to his right, a young boy is walking with his right hand touching his head. The young boy wears a long sleeved turtle neck top tucked into slightly flared trousers. A headlight, wing mirror and part of a grill and number plate of a car can be seen in the left corner.
Dimensions
  • Image width: 41cm
  • Image height: 28cm
  • Paper width: 50.5cm
  • Paper height: 40.5cm
Styles
Production typeLimited edition
Copy Number
3 of 10
Marks and Inscriptions
(Signed and editioned by artist recto in ink/certified verso by Autograph ABP)
Credit line
Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund
Object history
The V&A acquired this photograph as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Summary
Born in Yorkshire in 1947, photographer Syd Shelton documented resistance to racism in Britain during the 1970s and 1980s. Shelton became the official photographer for Rock Against Racism, a collective of political activists and musicians that organised concerts with an anti-racist message across the country. The popular British reggae group Matumbi were one of the bands to play at these events, alongside punk bands like The Clash.



This photograph depicts Matumbi’s lead singer Bevin ‘Bagga’ Fagan (1954-2008) offstage in London, where the band first formed. Bagga’s defiant stance suggests the need to confront racist attitudes on the street as well as through music in order to create an equal future for black and white people. This kind of direct action was realised in a wave of political demonstrations during this period.



The V&A acquired three of Shelton’s photographs as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.
Associated Objects
Collection
Accession Number
E.318-2013

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record createdFebruary 7, 2013
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