The Black presence in portraiture

17.30 BST, 19 October 2021 | Online

Nils Larson (Sannäs 1872 - Gothenburg 1914),
A study of the model Pierre Louis Alexandre,
Watercolour on paper, 52.8 x 42.1 cm.
Image courtesy of Elliott Fine Art

In celebration of Black History Month, this talk intends to offer a fresh, thoughtful perspective on Black identity and African representation in art.

The conversation will be introduced and moderated by Samuel Reilly from Apollo Magazine with Alayo Akinkugbe (founder, @ablackhistoryofart), Michael Ohajuru (cultural historian), Arthur Timothy (artist), and Will Elliott (owner, Elliott Fine Art).

The speakers will share views on how recent scholarship has highlighted depictions of Africans and people from the African diaspora in historical portraits - and how contemporary painters have been reimagining the genre for the present.

A Q&A session with the audience will end the panel discussion.

Do not miss this event and join our panelists by registering at the link below. 








Samuel Reilly
Editorial Assistant, Apollo


Samuel Reilly is a writer from Glasgow, and editorial assistant at Apollo. He has written numerous articles on art and books for Apollo and other publications, including Prospect, Frieze and the Literary Review, with a particular focus on Africa. Recent essays have focused on the exploration of the history of photography in West Africa, the Benin Bronzes and the case for their return, and acts of restitution by private individuals. In 2020, he was co-lead editor of the Apollo 40 Under 40 Africa, a publication celebrating talented young people advancing the cause of African art in both local and global contexts.







Alayo Akinkugbe
Founder, @ablackhistoryofart



Alayo Akinkugbe graduated from the University of Cambridge with a BA in History of Art in 2021, and she is the founder of @ablackhistoryofart on Instagram. She is interested in all periods of art history, but her aim is to continually platform emerging and forgotten black artists from all over the world, working towards a diversification of the way art is taught and presented in the West, encouraging a more global and inclusive approach to art and art history.






Will Elliott
Owner, Elliott Fine Art, London


After working at Sotheby's and Colnaghi as director, Will set up Elliott Fine Art at the beginning of 2020, focusing on European paintings and drawings from the 19th and early 20th centuries, with the aim of both rediscovering forgotten artists and recontextualising major names.

Will Elliott will be exhibiting at London Art Week this winter for the second consecutive time.








Michael Ohajuru
Senior Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London


Michael I. Ohajuru is Senior Fellow of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London. He blogs, writes and speaks regularly on the Black presence in Renaissance Europe, and has spoken at the National Gallery, Tate Britain, British Library, National Archives and the Victoria Albert Museum. He is the founder of the series of gallery tours: Image of the Black in London Galleries, Project Director and Chief Evangelist of The John Blanke Project, an Art and Archive project celebrating John Blanke the Black trumpeter to courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII, co-convener of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies' What's Happening in Black British History series of workshops and founder member of the Black Presence in British Portraiture network.






Arthur Timothy
Artist and Architect, London and Bath


Arthur Timothy (b. 1957, Accra, Ghana) is an artist and architect who lives and works in London and Bath. He spent his early childhood in Freetown, Sierra Leone. His work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy (London), Gallery 1957 (Accra), Ronchini Gallery (London) and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery (online). His work is part of important international collections including the permanent collection of ICA Miami. Timothy studied Architecture at the School of Architecture at the University of Sheffield and the work of his architectural studio has been widely published and exhibited.



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