I waded through a cold wet and windy afternoon, finally reaching Saatchi Gallery, patient but excited to experience their latest aesthetically arresting exhibit The New Black Vanguard, curated by American writer and critic Antwaun Sargent. The space featured 15 international Black photographers contributing to a new vision of the Black figure and reframing representation in art and fashion. This exhibition is a celebration of Black creativity both in-front of and behind the camera.
Sargent explores a postmodernist lens of Black portraiture by dissecting the cross-pollination of art, fashion and culture in the making of images.
Works include Black stylists, models, make-up artists and creative directors who are bringing a radically new set of references and experiences to image making.
Here are a selection of scenes that drew me in.
“This exhibition is an exploration of this generation’s Black image makers who are bringing fresh perspective to photography. Image by image, they have created a loose global network around their art that powerfully centres identity, community and desire.
The artists in this show profoundly reanimate the possibilities of contemporary photography.”
– Antwaun Sargent
“The New Black Vanguard presents artists whose vibrant portraits and conceptual images fuse the genres of art and fashion photography in ways that breakdown long-established boundaries. The Images open up conversations around the representation of the Black body and Black lives as subject matter. Collectively, the works celebrate the Black creativity. Seeking to challenge the idea that Blackness is homogenous, the works serve as a form of visual activism delivered by emerging talents who are creating photography in vastly different contexts – be it in New York or Johannesburg, Lagos or London. The results – often made in collaboration with Black stylists and fashion designers – present new perspectives on the medium of photography and the notions of race, beauty, gender and power.”
Campbell Addy, Quil Lemons, Daniel Obasi, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Namsa Leuba, Ruth Ossai, Micaiah Carter, Renell Medrano, Adrienne Raquel, Awol Erizku, Tyler Mitchell, Dana Scruggs, Nadine Ijewere, Jamal Nxedlana, Stephen Tayo
Also including additional works by:
AB+DM (Ahmad Barber and Donté Maurice), Djeneba Aduayom, Lawrence Agyei, Rasharn Agyemang, Araba Ankuma, Bafic, Daveed Baptiste, Malick Bodian, Kennedi Carter, Jorian Charlton, Christian Cody, Faith Couch, Delphine Diallo, Rhea Dillon, Philip-Daniel Ducasse, Christina Ebenezer, Yagazie Emezi, Justin French, Alexandre Gaudin, Erica Génécé, Kenny Germé, Denzel Golatt, Yannis Davy Guibinga, Travis Gumbs, Tyrell Hampton, Seye Isikalu, Adama Jalloh, Manny Jefferson, Kreshonna Keane, Ekua King, Joshua Kissi, Casper Kofi, Olivia Lifungula, Myles Loftin, Mahaneela, Ronan Mckenzie, Tyra Mitchell, Fabien Montique, Sierra Nallo, Manuel Obadia-Wills, Travys Owen, Amber Pinkerton, Marc Posso, Caio Rosa, Silvia Rosi, Lucie Rox, Makeda Sandford, Cécile Smetana Baudier, Justin Solomon, Texas Isaiah, David Uzochukwu, Juan Veloz, Isaac West, and Joshua Woods.
Supported by Burberry, organised by Aperture, and made possible, in part by Airbnb Magazine and Tasweer Photo Festival, Qatar.
PHOTOGRAPHY BETWEEN ART AND FASHION
28 Oct 2022 – 22 Jan 2023