Not currently on display at the V&A

Terpsichore (Delta Streete)

Photograph
1989 (photographed)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This photograph is from a series of portraits of creative black women by Maud Sulter, who is of Ghanaian and Scottish parentage. The series is called Zabat and shows each woman as one of the nine Greek muses. The word Zabat describes an ancient ritual dance performed by women on occasions of power, and her use of it signifies Maud Sulter's call for a repositioning of black women in the history of photography

The model here is the performance artist Delta Streete who had created the costume she is pictured wearing as part of a dance performance and installation called The Quizzing Class, which explored relationships between women, particularly that between slave and mistress. Here Streete is presented as Terpsichore, the muse of dance.

Maud Sulter produced the Zabat series for Rochdale Art Gallery in 1989, the 150th anniversary of the invention of photography. It was a direct response to the lack of a black presence at other celebratory events and exhibitions.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Additional titleZabat (series title)
Materials and techniques
Dye destruction print
Brief description
'Terpsichore' (Delta Streete), dye destruction print, Zabat series, Maud Sulter, 1989
Physical description
Photograph of Delta Streete represented as Terpsichore, the muse of dance.
Dimensions
  • Height: 122cm
  • Width: 153cm
  • Framed height: 140cm
  • Framed width: 116cm
  • Framed depth: 4.5cm
Photograph aprox: 128 x 102 cm Frame: 140 x 116 x 4.5 cm
Gallery label
This photograph is from a series of portraits of creative black women posed as the nine Greek muses. It shows the performance artist Delta Streete as Terpsichore, the muse of dance. Combining the conventions of historical portraiture - the 18th-century costume and heavy gilt frames - with the representation of contemporary black women, the series raises questions about the nature of 'national' heritage.(April 2009-April 2010)
Credit line
Copyright Maud Sulter
Historical context
Maud Sulter works with photography as well as video and installation. Amongst her recent projects has been a series of allegorical portraits of contemporary black women which used conventional studio techniques along with the trappings of historical displays. Sulter also uses a variety of conventions from portraiture - from 18th century costume to heavy Victorian frames. The contrast between these anachronistic and aristocratic styles and the actual histories of her sitters is used to poetic effect and also raises questions about the nature of 'national' heritage.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This photograph is from a series of portraits of creative black women by Maud Sulter, who is of Ghanaian and Scottish parentage. The series is called Zabat and shows each woman as one of the nine Greek muses. The word Zabat describes an ancient ritual dance performed by women on occasions of power, and her use of it signifies Maud Sulter's call for a repositioning of black women in the history of photography



The model here is the performance artist Delta Streete who had created the costume she is pictured wearing as part of a dance performance and installation called The Quizzing Class, which explored relationships between women, particularly that between slave and mistress. Here Streete is presented as Terpsichore, the muse of dance.



Maud Sulter produced the Zabat series for Rochdale Art Gallery in 1989, the 150th anniversary of the invention of photography. It was a direct response to the lack of a black presence at other celebratory events and exhibitions.
Associated objects
Bibliographic reference
Katy Barron, Looking In. Photographic Portraits by Maud Sulter and Chan-Hyo Bae. London: Ben Uri Gallery, 2013. ISBN: 978-0-900157-42-4.
Collection
Accession number
E.1795-1991

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Record createdJuly 30, 2003
Record URL
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