Autograph has loaned works from our collection by artist Maxine Walker to the Centre for British Photography's exhibition Headstrong: Women and Empowerment.
Curated by Fast Forward: Women in Photography, Headstrong celebrates the work of living photographers based in Britain. It looks at women who have made work that is concerned with how they are represented, what they are dealing with in their everyday lives and what it means to embrace diversities that challenge the conservative order of a patriarchal society. Their work is playful, thought-provoking and often surprising.
The works on loan are from Walker's series of self portraits Untitled (1997). In this series, the artist draws our attention to the features of her face in closely-cropped black and white photographs. The sequence of 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.
was active within the photographic community between 1985 and 1997 and deeply invested in dialogues that advocated black art practices in Britain. A pioneering artist, she was instrumental in cofounding several creative platforms for black female photographers – such as Monocrone Women’s Photography Collective, Women + Photography and Polareyes – and participated on editorial boards, including at Autograph (then known as the Association of Black Photographers).
During this time, Walker regularly reviewed exhibitions and wrote features highlighting the work of her peers, such as Joy Gregory, Adrian Piper and Ingrid Pollard. Walker’s main themes, in her own words, ‘involve the black woman and the family worked in a “pot-pourri” of studio, portraiture and documentary.’
In 2019, Autograph opened the first solo exhibition of Walker's work in more than 22 years at our gallery in London, which toured to Midland Arts Centre in 2021. Walker resides in Handsworth, Birmingham.
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