John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins – ‘Taking Liberties’
Ffotogallery, Cardiff | 01 – 31 May 2017
Presented as part of Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography 2017 – A Ffotogallery Project.
Between 1960 and 1966 John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins captured the vibrancy of discontent and the emerging counter-culture in Britain, which was expressed through activism, poetic expression, and art. This exhibition for Diffusion brings together a multitude of photographs never seen before from the photographers archive alongside others included in the very few public exhibitions of his work to date. Captured here is the historic poetry convention at The Albert Hall in 1965, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King’s first visits to London, Committee of 100 and CND marches, and early anti-racist and pro-Civil Rights demonstrations which illustrate the power of popular protest. We bear witness to the essential internationalism and pluralism of the peace movement in the large collage works which display the place and country names of those on these marches – from Africa to Aberystwyth, Iraq to the Isle of Skye.
Also on display in the exhibition are materials relating to his involvement in various counter-cultural manifestations, such as International Times, and his ‘prison letters’ from 1967 when he was unjustly jailed for cannabis possession, though the suspected real reason for this was his influential anti-establishment position that was gaining ground in the projects he was involved in.
John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins (15 August 1937 – 30 January 2015) was a British photographer, video-maker and political activist, who was a highly influential figure in the UK underground movement in London. In 1965 he helped set up the ‘London Free School’ in Notting Hill. This in turn led to the establishment of the Notting Hill carnival. In 1966 Hopkins co-founded the influential ‘International Times’, a radical underground newspaper and Europe’s first ‘alternative’ publication. The voice of a generation, it was first edited by Glaswegian poet and playwright Tom McGrath (1940 – 2009). Hopkins remained a member of its editorial board and a major contributor. He also helped set up the legendary UFO Club with Joe Boyd, with Pink Floyd as the resident band.
Exhibition curated by Malcolm Dickson, Director, Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow. Exhibition presented with the kind permission and involvement of the Estate of John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins.
Banner Image: “Country Band” by John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins, © 1960 ESTATE OF J V L HOPKINS
Left Image: Hoppy in Portobello Road, circa 1966, © Adam Ritchie
More info on Diffusion Festival: diffusionfestival.org
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