Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Fly in League with the Night

Black female artists are very belatedly enjoying huge amounts of exposure across the world and Yiadom-Bokaye is among those whose portraits and paintings have found favour.

Now the Tate has fallen in step. Stylistically 43-year-old British painter Yiadom-Boakye has commandeered what might be called black on black as a look. Her subjects emerge from inky dark backgrounds, sometimes only a startling pair of white eyes breaks the gloom. Within the constraints of this palette, the paintings ooze realism; a momentary gesture or look or group activity is captured to perfection. The surprise is that almost none of these portraits are actually taken from life. “I work from scrapbooks, I work from images I collect, I work from life a little bit, I seek out the imagery I need. I take photos. All of that is then composed on the canvas,” she says. 

Until 31st May at Tate Britain, Millbank, London, UK

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