In Britain, black artists are arguably receiving the most sustained level of attention in a generation, from several historical exhibitions and international conferences to academic-based research initiatives and acquisitions by prestigious national museums. While offering artists a certain level of exposure, such initiatives have tended to privilege institutional agendas rather than the very artistic practices they purport to endorse. The paucity of genuine exhibition opportunities and significant publishing are factors that continue to bedevil a wider selection of black British artists. This article focuses on two specific exhibitions and artists: Eugene Palmer’s Didn’t It Rain (2018) and Barbara Walker’s Sub Urban: New Drawings (2015), both organized at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, UK. The author stresses the contrasting relationship to photography that each artist pursued in the making of their respective bodies of work and argues for a more engaged assessment of practice. The works of these artists deserve to be recognized for their fascinating and singular contributions to contemporary art practices.
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Richard Hylton; Eugene Palmer and Barbara Walker: Photography and the Black Subject. Nka 1 November 2019; 2019 (45): 100–113. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-7916904
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