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Almine Rech

The Time is Always Now Artists Reframe the Black Figure

Feb 22 — May 19, 2024 | National Portrait Gallery, London, UK

The National Portrait Gallery opens its spring exhibition, The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure, a showcase of work by 22 leading African diasporic artists, working in the UK and USA. Exploring the depiction of the Black form within portraiture, the exhibition will feature contemporary works - made between the year 2000 and today - that consider and celebrate figuration as a means of illuminating the richness and complexity of Black life.

Supported by Bank of America and curated by writer Ekow Eshun, former Director of the lnstitute of Contemporary Arts, The Time is Always Now seeks to question what it means to visualise the Black body. The exhibition's title - taken from an essay on desegregation by the American author, James Baldwin - was chosen by Eshun for its sense of urgency; a reminder that while Black artists are experiencing a moment of flourishing, that their work exists within an always-evolving artistic lineage. Through the mediums of painting, drawing and sculpture, the 55 contemporary works included in the exhibition respond to three core themes - Double Consciousness, Persistence of Historyand Our Aliveness.

The exhibition will feature the work of leading artists including Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Hurvin Anderson, Michael Armitage, Jordan Casteel, Noah Davis, Godfried Donkor, Kimathi Donkor, Denzil Forrester, Lubaina Himid, Claudette Johnson, Titus Kaphar, Kerry James Marshall, Wangechi Mutu, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Chris Ofili, Jennifer Packer, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Thomas J Price, Amy Sherald, Lorna Simpson, Henry Taylor and Barbara Walker.

Press release

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