Maxine Walker

26 Apr - 17 Aug 2019


Curated by Renée Mussai and Bindi Vora


Rivington Place



opening Times









11am - 6pm

11am - 6pm

11am - 9pm

11am - 6pm

12pm - 6pm


About the exhibition

Reintroducing a pioneering artist whose practice focused on representations of black womanhood, Maxine Walker: Untitled is a poignant exploration of identity by a young artist at the height of her career - using photography to interrogate the intricacies of skin, blackness and being.

Active between 1985 - 1997, this is Maxine Walker’s first solo exhibition in more than twenty-two years.

In her seminal series of self portraits Untitled (1997), Walker draws our attention to the features of her face in closely-cropped black and white photographs. The sequence of ten portraits share a charged visual journey as she seemingly peels away layers of her surface skin, conjuring a narrative that is more sinister than playful, intimating that her blackness cannot - and must not - be stripped away. Magnifying the delicacy of her skin, we are invited to consider complex notions of beauty, masquerade, and vulnerability. 

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This exhibition is part of Autograph’s ongoing commitment to curate and preserve the legacy of important practitioners such as Walker, and to ensure that her significant contribution to the cultural history of photography is recognised. Deeply invested in creating dialogues that advocated black art practices in Britain, Walker was an influential artist and instrumental in co-founding platforms to give expression to black female photographers – including Monocrone Women’s Photography Collective, Women + Photography and Polareyes.

Material from Autograph’s archive will be exhibited for the first time, including the original contact sheets from Walker’s photo booth styled self portraits (1995). In these colour works, Walker transforms herself into a myriad of characters. Vintage artist prints from Black Beauty (1991) and The Bride (1989) will be on display, alongside the magazines Walker co-founded, edited and wrote for. Ephemera from her exhibitions across the UK chart the extent of her prolific career.

Maxine Walker: Untitled is based on Autograph’s 1997 publication of Walker’s work commissioned and edited by Mark Sealy, part of our now-rare series of monographs dedicated to black photographic practice.

Walker resides in Handsworth, Birmingham.

Artist Maxine Walker peels away layers of her surface skin


Exhibition opening

Join us at the opening night of Maxine Walker: Untitled

Thur 25 April, 6:30 - 9:30pm


Autograph is an accessible venue

Download our Accessibility Guide

About the artist

Maxine Walker (b. 1962, Birmingham, UK) was active within the photographic community between 1985 – 1997. Her main themes, in the artist’s own words, "involve the black woman and the family”.

Walker studied at West Surrey College of Art & Design (now University of Creative Arts). Her works were exhibited across a diverse range of national institutions and small galleries globally, including South London Gallery; Jamaica Arts Centre, New York; Impressions Gallery, Bradford; and The Photographers’ Gallery, London. Her photography featured within group exhibitions Self-Evident (1995), Ikon Gallery and Shifting Terrains (1997), Zone Gallery, Newcastle – both organised in partnership with Autograph; other exhibitions include Through the Looking Glass: Photographic Art in Britain 1945-1986 (1989), Barbican, London; Descent Exposure (1989), Central Library, Birmingham; amongst others.

Also on at Autograph

Lola Flash: [sur]passing

26 Apr - 17 Aug 2019

Lola Flash’s work challenges stereotypes and gender, sexual, and racial preconceptions.

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Artist Maxine Walker peels away layers of her surface skin
Artist Maxine Walker peels away layers of her surface skin

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All vintage material on display from Autograph’s archive collection of photography. Ephemera from Intimate Distance (1989) courtesy of The Photographers’ Gallery, London.


Maxine Walker and Autograph would like to thank: Derek Bishton, Vanley Burke, Claudette Holmes, Joy Gregory, Denise Walker, and Ella Yvonne Delores Walker Cole.


Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Images, from top: 1-4) Maxine Walker, Untitled, 1997. © Maxine Walker. Courtesy of the artist and Autograph, London. 5) Omar Victor Diop: Liberty / Diaspora exhibition at Autograph, London. 20 July - 3 November 2018, curated by Renée Mussai and Mark Sealy. Photograph by Zoe Maxwell.