THE POLY STYRENE ARCHIVE
Identity! A Poly Styrene Retrospective was the first public touring exhibition of the personal and artistic archive Poly Styrene; artist, punk icon and lead singer of the historic punk band X-Ray Spex.
In May of 2019 Celeste Bell and Mattie Loyce co-curated and produced the first exhibition of this work at 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning in Brixton, London, UK where Poly Styrene was born and raised. The aim of the exhibition is to exhibition explore Poly Styrene’s complex legacy and work as an interdisciplinary artist, highlighting her experiences as a woman in music history, a woman in punk, being mixed race Black British, and someone living with mental health difficulties.
The exhibition program included a book talk for DAYGLO, the recent biography about Poly Styrene co-authored by Celeste and Zoe Howe, a preview film screening of I Am A Cliché, the documentary film co-directed by Celeste and Paul Sng, as well as a Poly Styrene Weekender event with workshops, a panel discussion and a punk music gig with performances by local bands in response to Poly Styrene’s legacy. After an overwhelmingly positive response to the exhibition and program, Celeste and Mattie have decided to produce an international tour of the Poly Styrene Archive.