Photo Credit: Holly Graham

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Event Details

Mon, February 26, 2024

18:00 – 19:30

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Florence, Italy

(Event open to NYU Florence students-only)

A Writing Workshop

A writing workshop led by artist Holly Graham, inviting critical responses to the European trope of the blackamoor and its framing in the context of ‘the White gaze’. The workshop will build on Holly’s research into the development of the motif of the blackamoor in Baroque Italian 17th and 18th century furniture design; taking as its starting point a work in-progress text by the artist. The text is a collection of short reflections on and responses to research findings gathered during the artist’s six-month residency at the British School at Rome at the beginning of 2023; and takes the form of a series of fragments that aim to collectively consider ideas of the authority of imagery – of trope, motif and style; and how these in turn shape readings of race and otherness. In this practical session, Holly will share extracts of this work, and offer space for participants to collectively consider and contend with a motif that is inherently punitive and silencing. Through a series of writing and reading exercises, attendees will be invited to consider strategies of channelling ‘a Black gaze’ to speak back to the blackamoor.

(Followed by a light lunch – event opened to NYU Florence students-only)

In collaboration with Black History Month Florence

Featured Biographies

Holly Graham


Holly Graham is a London-based artist whose work looks at ways in which memory and narrative shape collective histories. Holly holds a BFA from Oxford University and an MA in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art. Current projects include commissions with UP Projects & Barnet Council (2023); TACO! (2021-23); and Manchester Art Gallery (2024). Recent solo projects include commissions with: Locales, Rome (2023); Deptford X (2023), London; Skelf, Online (2022); Robert Young Antiques, London (2021); Gaada, Shetland (2020); Goldsmiths CCA, Online (2020); and Southwark Park Galleries, London (2020). Holly is an Associate Lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London; and is Co-Founder of Cypher BILLBOARD, London. She was awarded a Sainsbury Scholarship at the British School in Rome for 2023.