Dexter McLean


Artist Dexter McLean is creating a new series of portraits, reflecting on the impact of Covid-19 on the community that surrounds him in his day-to-day life. Read more about McLean's practice, and his commission for our new project Care | Contagion | Community – Self & Other.

Dexter McLean, from Aspire Gym

Dexter McLean (b. 1993, Kingston, Jamaica) is a UK-based artist whose practice is concerned with representation, focusing on the challenges disabled people face in contemporary society. McLean often creates portraits that challenge myths about the abilities disabled people have.

Ideas of community are important in McLean’s photographic practice: one of his most notable series, Aspire Gym, was inspired by his own ambition to become a Paralympian. McLean photographed athletes from a wheelchair rugby team who trained at the gym, addressing how power, strength and disability are represented in mainstream media.

For Autograph’s commissioning project Care I Contagion I Community – Self & Other, McLean is creating a new series of portraits that looks at one of the minority communities affected by the impact of Covid-19. Focusing on the community that surrounds the artist in his day-to-day life, McLean will photograph his closest family and friends, including those caring for him, highlighting how valuable these relationships are. He will investigate ideas of protection, and the simple functions such as mask-wearing that form an essential part of the experience of the global pandemic. This new work questions who is protecting who?, at a moment when Black, Caribbean and Asian communities have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

We'll update this page as the commission progresses, join our mailing list for updates. In the meantime, read an introduction to the Care | Contagion | Community project by Autograph's Senior Curator Renée Mussai.

Dexter McLean, from Tower Avenue Jamaica

Dexter McLean, from Tower Avenue Jamaica

Dexter McLean, from Tower Avenue Jamaica

Part of Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other

Autograph has commissioned ten artists to create new work responding to the wider context of the Covid-19 crisis. Initiated during the first month of lockdown, Autograph’s curatorial team Mark Sealy, Renée Mussai and Bindi Vora have been in close dialogue with a constituency of creative practitioners in our immediate artistic community. For the first phase, we have invited UK-based artists working with photography, film and lens-based media to create a new small-scale, open-ended visual arts project. The second phase will encompass ten new writing commissions, where each writer – paired with one of the artists – will be tasked to produce a short essay contextualising these newly commissioned works.


Dexter McLean graduated with a MA in Photography from Middlesex University in 2020, his portrait Untitled was shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016. McLean is currently part of the Shape Arts Transforming Leadership Programme. He lives and works in London.


Visit Dexter McLean's website.

Read Photographer Dexter McLean wants to change image of disability in Jamaica in the Harrow Times.

Follow the artist on Instagram and Twitter.


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Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Images, from top: 1) Dexter McLean, from Aspire Gym. 2 - 4) Dexter McLean, from Tower Jamaica Avenue. All images © and courtesy Dexter McLean.