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#24 - Danny Keen / Central School of Art / 1960s

Danny Keen20 forweb
Danny Keen - by Elly Clarke

I have known Danny Keen for many years through his daughter Iona, with whom who I've been close friends since 1999. Danny studied art at Central School of Art in the 1960s and somehow we managed to blag our way into the former site of the college on Southampton Row - which the college moved from to Kings Cross a couple of years ago. Funnily enough, Danny's sticky memory place was also the site of several of my own memories: I did my MA at (by then) Central Saint Martins in 2002-3. So after Danny had told his story of the exhibition of which his work was a part - and caused a fair amount of offence as well as an 'invitation' to leave the course - we explored the building. It was a strange experience walking around a space that I remember as being constantly buzzing with people, ideas and images; on my way to or from lectures or events. I was reminded of my former classmates, as was Danny. The space was eerily silent and, for half an hour at least, we were allowed to wander around undisturbed. And then we were politely asked to leave.

From there we walked up the road to the Architects Association on Bedford Square, where, after college, Danny worked as a chef, setting up his own kitchen which the Association built for him.

Danny moved to London from Jamaica in 1952 and his recent series 'Portraits of a Diaspora' focusses on individuals who migrated from West Indies to Britain at this time - part of the 'Windrush generation.'

He now lives in Gresham, Norfolk. You can see more about Danny's work here.

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