Two book covers of reading recommendations from artist Michelle Williams Gamaker.

Artist Michelle Williams Gamaker’s exhibition at the South London Gallery, Our Mountains Are Painted On Glass, (31 Mar – 18 Jun 2023) premieres a new film work Thieves. The show explores themes of race and identity and Williams Gamaker’s love of cinema. To coincide with the show, Williams Gamaker has shared her top picks from the South London Gallery Bookshop that touch on themes relating to the exhibition and her interests.

Hollywood Fantasies of Miscegenation: Spectacular Narratives of Gender and Race, 1903–1967 by Susan Courtney

From the first interracial screen kiss of 1903, through the Production Code’s nearly thirty-year ban on depictions of “miscegenation,” this richly illustrated book demonstrates a long, popular, yet underexamined record of cultural fantasy and interracial desire in popular American film.

The China Mystique: Pearl S. Buck, Anna May Wong, Mayling Soong, and the Transformation of American Orientalism by Karen J Leong

The China Mystique explores the gendering of American orientalism during the 1930s and 1940s. Focusing on three well-known women who were associated with China—writer Pearl S. Buck, actor Anna May Wong, and first-lady Mayling Soong—Leong shows how each negotiated what it meant to be American, Chinese American, and Chinese against the backdrop of changes in the US.

Sabu by Michael Lawrence

The first Indian to become an international film star, Sabu rose to fame as a child actor in the 30s, subsequently appeared in several British films and eventually relocated to Hollywood. Repeatedly cast in orientalist films and stories set in the jungle, he was associated with the ‘exotic’ and the ‘primitive’ in ways that reflected attitudes towards India and ‘the East’ more generally. This publication explores the historical, political, cultural contexts of Sabu’s popularity as a star.

Oculus by Sally Wen Mao

“In the fascinating collection Oculus (Graywolf), Sally Wen Mao considers exile as a result of time, distance — and modern technology. A series of poems about the first Chinese American movie star, Anna May Wong, shows her traveling through the past and then to the future of film in a time machine. By telling Wong’s story, and those of other women of color who have been defined by images in popular culture, the work explores the ramifications of being seen and objectified but never truly known.”.Elizabeth Lund for The Washington Post

This book of poems explores exile not just as a matter of distance and displacement, but as a migration through time and a reckoning with technology.

Fandom as Methodology: A Sourcebook for Artists and Writers edited by Catherine Grant & Kate Random Love

Fandom as Methodology examines ideas of fandom in and as art as well as as a set of practices for approaching and writing about art. Key to the ideas explored in the book is a focus on the potential for fandom in art to create oppositional spaces, communities, and practices, particularly from queer perspectives, but also through transnational, feminist and artist-of-colour fandoms.

Off-White: Yellowface and Chinglish by Anglo-American Culture by Sheng-mei Ma

Off-White explores how English-speaking novelists and filmmakers tell stories of China from a Chinese perspective. Off-white or yellow-ish characters and their foreign-sounding speech are performed in Anglo-American fiction and visual culture and created of, for, by the (white) people.

A Matter of Life and Death: BFI Film Classics by Ian Christie

Produced in the aftermath of the Second World War, A Matter of Life and Death tells the story of an RAF pilot poised between life and death and his love for the American radio operator, threatened by medical, political and ultimately celestial forces. Ian Christie’s study of the film shows how its creators drew upon many sources and traditions to create a unique form of modern storytelling, treating contemporary issues with witty allegory and enormous visual imagination.

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Michelle Williams Gamaker has also released an exciting new print to accompany Our Mountains Are Painted On Glass. Visit the South London Gallery Bookshop Tues-Sun to browse our book and merchandise range inspired by the exhibition. Buy or order all titles through the SLG Bookshop, email us at

Our store is committed to highlighting underrepresented authors, independent publishers and championing reading across all ages.

Want to know what other artists are reading? Take a look at what artist Rene Matić recommended.

Michelle Williams Gamaker: Our Mountains Are Painted On Glass is at the South London Gallery from 31 March – 18 June 2023.

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Michelle Williams Gamaker worked with Yuna Goda to create this limited edition print for the exhibition. Made exclusively for the South London Gallery, purchase one of 100 prints through the SLG Bookshop in-store or online.

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<p><em>Counterparts</em>, 2023 by Yuna Goda & Michelle Williams Gamaker</p>

Counterparts, 2023 by Yuna Goda & Michelle Williams Gamaker