The New Black Vanguard Exhibition @ Saatchi Gallery



Happy New Year! Our first #ArtThursday blog post of 2023 starts of our Saatchi Series with The New Black Vanguard Photography Exhibition.
The New Black Vanguard features 15 international Black photographers contributing to a new vision of the Black figure and reframing representation in art and fashion. This exhibition is a celebration of Black creativity both in-front of and behind the camera. Featured works include Black stylists, models, make-up artists and creative directors who are bringing a radically new set of references and experiences to image making.
The New Black Vanguard is curated by American writer and critic Antwaun Sargent who explores a new aesthetic of Black portraiture while examining the cross-pollination between art, fashion and culture in the making of images.


"This exhibition is an exploration of this generation's Black image makers who are bringing fresh perspective to photography. Image by image, they have created a loose global network around their art that powerfully centres identity, community and desire. The artists in this show profoundly reanimate the possibilities of contemporary photography." - Antwaun Sargent

The New Black Vanguard presents artists whose vibrant portraits and conceptual images fuse the genres of art and fashion photography in ways that breakdown long-established boundaries. 

The Images open up conversations around the representation of the Black body and Black lives as subject matter. Collectively, the works celebrate the Black creativity. Seeking to challenge the idea that Blackness is homogenous, the works serve as a form of visual activism delivered by emerging talents who are creating photography in vastly different contexts - be it in New York or Johannesburg, Lagos or London. The results - often made in collaboration with Black stylists and fashion designers - present new perspectives on the medium of photography and the notions of race, beauty, gender and power.

It is a global movement of image-makers working internationally across the African diaspora, who have created a community through photography that includes, stylists, writers, models, hair stylists, make-up artists and fashion designers. 

Their photographs of black models - whether professionals or cast from the photographers' families, communities or Instagram - and celebrities draw on such genres as portraiture and documentary, conceptual and still-life photography, bringing in a whole set of references and Black aesthetics as a way to introduce innovative possibilities for the fashion image.

"I can see myself within my work. I want to give that platform to young women of colour and show that beauty is not just one universal standard." - Nadine Ijewere

"With every project and everything I try to do, there's a sense of educating the viewer. Not necessarily educating for the Black viewer or for the white viewer, but just for people in general." - Campbell Addy

"I am trying to create a new vernacular - Black art as universal" - Awol Erizku

"To convey black beauty is an act of justice." - Tyler Mitchell

"The beauty of photography is it starts a dialogue about who we are" - Ruth Ossai

Featured photographers


The New Black Vanguard beautifully fuses art and fashion photography, breaking boundaries between genres. The images open conversations around the representation of the Black body and Black lives as subject matter and challenge the idea that Blackness is homogenous. Curator and art critic Antwaun Sargent selected 15 groundbreaking talents for this exhibition.



The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion -Cleveland Museum of Art

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