Artist Rotimi Fani-Kayode created Umbrella at his studio in South London, in 1987. During a tragically brief six-year career, Fani-Kayode used photography to explore themes of race, sexuality, spirituality and the self. He masterfully staged and crafted portraits, including this dramatic black and white image, visualising black queer self-expression through a fusing of African and European cultures.
Fani-Kayode was born in 1955, in Lagos, Nigeria to a prominent Yorùbá family before moving to England following the outbreak of civil war. He later studied in the USA, before settling permanently in London. Prominent in the Black British art scene in the 1980s, and an important figure in the history of art, Fani-Kayode was one of the first chairs of Autograph and a founding signatory. Umbrella is held in our collection of photography.
A founding signatory and one of the first chairs of Autograph, Fani-Kayode was actively engaged in the Black British art scene during the 1980s.
His photographs have been exhibited internationally since 1985, with numerous solo and group exhibitions in Europe, America and Africa. In 2003, his work featured in the African Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale, Italy and today his works are represented in major public and private collectors including Tate, Guggenheim Museum; Victoria & Albert Museum; The Walther Collection; The Hutchins Center; Kiasma-Museum of Contemporary Art; and the collection of Yinka Shonibare CBE, amongst others.
Autograph is a place to see things differently. Since 1988, we have championed photography that explores issues of race, identity, representation, human rights and social justice, sharing how photographs reflect lived experiences and shape our understanding of ourselves and others.Donate Join our mailing list