Reframing the Black Figure

An Introduction to Contemporary Black Figuration


This book is not yet published, but will be available from May 2024.

ISBN: 9781855145481 Category:


‘What happens when Black artists depict Black figures? What art does this produce, and what worlds of possibility does this reveal?’ – Ekow Eshun

Reframing the Black Figure showcases more than 20 of the most important Black figurative artists working in the UK and US today. This visual giftbook introduces readers to the field of Black figuration by highlighting a selection of key works from the National Portrait Gallery exhibition, The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure. Readers will encounter contemporary Black artists producing beautiful, urgent artworks that presents the Black form with nuance and depth.

Richly illustrated with artworks and visual details, alongside short biographies for all featured artists, this accessible publication offers an opportunity for readers to experience some of the most exciting artworks depicting the Black form. Within this context, they take on a dual role, as the accomplished work of individual artists on the one hand, and as a collective assertion of Black presence on the other.

Featured artists include Hurvin Anderson, Michael Armitage, Jordan Casteel, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Noah Davis, Godfried Donkor, Kimathi Donkor, Denzil Forrester, Lubaina Himid, Claudette Johnson, Titus Kaphar, Kerry James Marshall, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Chris Ofili, Jennifer Packer, Thomas J. Price, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Lorna Simpson, Amy Sherald, Henry Taylor and Barbara Walker.

Additional information

Weight 300 g
Dimensions 16.5 x 19.5 cm
Publisher name National Portrait Gallery Publications
Publication date 14 May 2024
Number of pages 112
Format Hardback
Contributors Text by Ekow Eshun
Dimensions 16.5 x 19.5 cm
Weight 300 g


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Ekow Eshun is a British writer, curator, and broadcaster. Described as a 'cultural polymath' by The Guardian, he has been a trailblazing voice at the heart of creative culture in Britain for three decades. He was the first black editor of a major magazine in the UK with Arena, and the first black director of a major arts organisation, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, in London. Eshun is the author of In the Black Fantastic (2022), Black Gold of the Sun (2005), nominated for the Orwell prize, and Africa State of Mind (2020), nominated for the Lucie Photo Book Prize.