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List of Black British Female Artisits using colour and texture to great effect

List of Black British Female Artisits using colour and texture to great effect

Carrying on from my last ‘Female Artist List – 5 Global Female Artists Using Colour and Patterns , I wanted to help you become aware of another list I created of Black British female artist based in the United Kingdom (UK).

So more informational content for you, this list is of Black female visual artists in the UK, who have inspired me by their use colour and texture in their art practice.

I was drawn to these artists, because I have been encouraged by how they manipulate their mediums and materials to great effect. It is important to me to keep a timeline of black female artists, past or present who, I have found to be inspirational.

Learning from and referencing other artist illustrates a desire to gain knowledge and improve one’s own art practice.

I study their art and use it as a jump-start to my own creations. Being aware of Black female artists is a celebration of their artistic achievements, an acknowledgement of their art practice and recognition of their work.

Art Institutions are beginning to recognise that female artist are a missing narrative within their collections and have stated to address the gaps. Black female artists need to be identified and be seen in public and private art institutions.

I create paper based abstract art myself (link to portfolio) and always look for different points of artistic reference as a source of inspiration. It helps me think outside the box.

If you are an artist, artlover or art collector, I hope this list makes you aware of these brilliant UK based black female artists, are inspired by their use of colour and texture, and buy their art.

Black British Female Artists

1. Barbara Walker

Black British Figurative Artist and Large scale figures.

Her paintings and artworks enrich the library of art collections held in institutions, of the African-Caribbean communities in the UK.

Vanishing Point – represents a collection that speaks volumes. The white textured papers when viewed from afar draw you in as a viewer. Upon close inspection you realise the papers are beautifully embossed and the figures drawn with graphite and pencil.

Her use of an array of materials and mediums results in large scale works and small scale works making commentary on class, gender and social issues. The black figure and its presence/absence within society has been highlighted throughout her work.

Have a listen to this youtube video by King’s Cultural Community (2017) to get a sense of Barbara Walkers’ Art Practice.

Now onto a 3D artist who manipulates hard stiff steel as if it were soft pliable paper.

2. Sokari Douglas Camp

Nigeria/UK 3D Artist/Mediums – Steel/Metals/ Acrylic Paints and Colours – Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Metallic

An established 3D sculptural fine artist with a national and international global reach. She creates large-scale figurative sculptures made of mainly steel and colourful acrylics paints.

Her ability to manipulate steel, results in great large-scale colourful textural installations.

Her practice makes reference to her Nigerian heritage, social, political and international issues. Pop over to her website to read a discourse about her collection – Primavera 2016 catalogue.

Now onto an artist giving rich earthy tones to her figures of black subject s existing within their own space and time.


3. Lynette Yiadom Boakye

UK- London Oil Painter – Figurative Colours – Muted/ Earthy/Rick

A London painter whose subjects are ‘suggested compositions of black people’ placed in an environment of elsewhere. Looking at her works, gives you a sense of catching the subjects ‘in the moment’ of an activity. You, the viewer creates your own subjective view of the work.

Her colours are muted and atmospheric, rich and earthy I love that her black subjects just exist within their space and activity.

From an artist using earthly tones to one whose colour palette was inspired by her colourful homeland…….

4. Althea McNish

1924 – April 2020 Trinidad/UK Textile Artist Colours – Colours of the Caribbean

A textile designer of Caribbean origin who designed for the top Fashion and Furnishing retail houses in 1950’s Britain. Every textile designer with an interest in colour, texture and pattern should be introduced to Althea McNish and her works. Althea McNish sadly passed away 16th April 2020 aged 95.

Influenced by the colours from her tropical island Trinidad, she produced bright colourful printed textiles which were a hit with the textile manufactures of the da such as Heals and Liberty in the 50’s. Fashion houses also bought her designs – Dior, Lanvin and Givenchy.

Research the archives of Victoria and Albert Museum, Textile manufacturers such as Heals, Liberty, Hull Traders and Cavendish Textiles to view her textural, graphic, colourful fabric covered with motifs from nature.

McNish’s is a classic example of the Black Female artist/textile designer whose influence on British culture has been undervalued.

Moving onto an artist now whose work is rich in gold and drama……

5. Lina Iris Viktor

Liberia/ UK/America Painter/Conceptual/ Installations/Photography Colours – Rich Black, Red, Aquamarine, Metallics – Gold

Lina is an artist whose work I first came across via social media and got a chance to see her exhibition at Autograph Gallery in London 2020. There is a dramatic, bold almost other worldly aspect to her work.

She is from Liberia/America, has exhibited in London, the work is too stunning to not somehow squeeze into the list.

This artist works across different mediums, the gestural lines and strokes in her work are thick or heavily textured. You are so tempted to touch the work, just to get a feel of the colours and textures across the various mediums she uses.

Visit her website to get a sense of the visual effects her work has on you and hopefully you get to one of her exhibitions in the near future to experience the colours and textures of her work.

In Conclusion

This is a small list to spark your interest and make you delve deeper into the black female artists and their work.

Black British female artist will always contribute to British art and culture and you can appreciate their work by visiting exhibitions online, in person (when we are out of lockdown) and buy/collect their art.

Their rich visual artistic messages adds to the body of art held by all, so let us recognise their worth.

If you know of more Black British Female artist who use colour and texture to great effect in the artwork make a comment below.

Written by D. Lawrence – follow @artandpatternsArt and Patterns
Image credit: Barbara Walker

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