Yiadom-Boakye’s portraits are fuelled by her interest in the history of figurative painting. Her work can perhaps also be seen as a critique of this history, addressing the absence of black subjects in western European and North American portraiture. She emphasises that her ‘starting point is always the language of painting itself and how that relates to the subject matter’. Her characters are imaginary, rather than based on specific individuals. She constructs deliberately ambiguous scenes for them, encouraging us to project our own meaning on to the work.
Gallery label, May 2019
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