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"The New Black Vanguard" Opens at London's Saatchi Gallery

Celebrating Black creativity both in front and behind the camera.

A new exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery brings together a group of Black photographers from across the globe, as a celebration of work that “reanimates the possibilities of contemporary photography.”

Curated by American writer and critic Antwaun Sargent, the show also presents the work of Black stylists, models, make-up artists, and creative directors, who – alongside the photographers – bring the images to life. Across the show, the 15 photographers featured are Campbell Addy; Arielle Bobb-Willis; Micaiah Carter; Awol Erizku; Nadine Ijewere; Quil Lemons; Namsa Leuba; Renell Medrano; Tyler Mitchell; Jamal Nxedlana; Daniel Obasi; Ruth Ossai; Adrienne Raquel; Dana Scruggs; and Stephen Tayo.

For Sargent, it was key to select images that could prompt conversation around the representation of the Black body in art. Many of the photographers involved have worked alongside some of the world’s biggest fashion houses and publications, but each works in a distinctly different style and within vastly varying contexts. “This exhibition is an exploration of this generation’s Black image makers who are bringing a fresh perspective to photography,” Sargent says. “Image by image, they have created a loose global network around their art that powerfully centers identity, community, and desire. The artists in this show profoundly reanimate the possibilities of contemporary photography.”

“These creatives have sought to expand established portrayals of Black life”

In addition to the work of the established photographers, Sargent has worked alongside Burberry to curate a section titled “Gazes II”. Each of these works, created in collaboration with the fashion house, looks to “reframe the significance of the Black figure”. The commissioned videos and still images have been created by the likes of Bolade Banjo, Kwabena Sekyi-Appiah-Nti, Micaiah Carter, Kennedi Carter, and Liz Johnson Artur, with stylist Ib Kamara. “Together, these creatives have sought to expand established portrayals of Black life to be more inclusive of narratives that have often gone unseen,” the gallery adds.

Burberry is also making a donation to Saatchi Gallery’s Learning program, which will support the gallery in its outreach work with local community groups and schools across London to provide free workshops, tours, and resources. For Londoner Nadine Ijewere, this feels particularly poignant. “The New Black Vanguard means a lot to me,” she says. “It’s an important milestone in history where the work of young black artists has been curated beautifully and published in a book. London is my home, I still remember school trips to the Saatchi! Now we are here, together, telling our stories”.

The New Black Vanguard is on show through January 22, 2023. Elsewhere in London, Glenn Lutz is showcasing a new solo exhibition at Guts Gallery that explores Black masculinity, sexuality, identity, and mental wellness.

Saatchi Gallery
Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road
London SW3 4RY

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