Autograph commissioned Frankyln Rodgers to create a new portrait of Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon, commemorating her devotion to seeking political and social justice.
Franklyn Rodgers has established himself as an artist known for his unique and distinctive photographic portraits, often working with large format and on traditional film. His work demonstrates visual care, combining exquisite grandeur with an investigation of what it means to look into the human face with trust and empathy.
For Rodger's solo exhibition Devotion - A Portrait of Loretta at Autograph, we commissioned the artist to create a new portrait of Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon. The shoot took place at our gallery on 27 March 2018 - it was an honour to welcome Baroness Lawrence to Autograph, and for the finished portrait to be on display throughout the exhibition. The work now forms part of our photography collection.
Baroness Lawrence was awarded the OBE for services to community relations in 2013, and since then she has been made a life peer in the House of Lords. For the past twenty-five years, she has won praise for her tireless dedication to community, antiracism and other socio-political causes close to her heart.
Her spirit, resilience and demand for a better way have genuinely changed an institution at the core of British life. Baroness Lawrence is the mother of Stephen Lawrence, a teenager murdered in a racist attack in South East London in 1993. Devastated by grief but determined to create hope, Doreen and Stephen’s father, Neville Lawrence, founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust in 1998 with the aim of promoting a positive community legacy in their son’s name. Doreen and Neville Lawrence wanted to ensure that future generations of young people would enjoy the opportunities that were denied to Stephen by his senseless murder. The trust has had a significant impact on criminal justice and social policy, as well as influencing the lives of the young people it has worked with.
In 1999, after years of campaigning by Baroness Lawrence and her family, a wide-ranging judicial inquiry was established to investigate the circumstances of Stephen’s death. It established that the Metropolitan Police was institutionally racist and that this was the main reason for their failure to solve Stephen’s case. Her ongoing efforts led to an investigation into claims of police corruption, and Baroness Lawrence has continued to campaign for justice for her son and other victims of racist crime in Britain.
Franklyn Rodgers has exhibited internationally, including at the United Nations Headquarters in New York (2011); Southbank Centre in London (2011); National Portrait Gallery in London (2008); Royal Academy in London (2006); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and during Les Rencontres d’Arles in France. His work is held in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Autograph. His first monograph The Philosophy of Strangers was published in October 2007 by Autograph, and is available in our Shop.
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Images, from top: 1) Franklyn Rodgers, Doreen Delceita Lawrence, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, OBE. 27 March 2018. Commissioned by Autograph. 2) The portrait on display at the Franklyn Rodgers: Devotion - A Portrait of Loretta exhibition at Autograph, London. Photograph by Zoë Maxwell.