Exhibition: Maud Sulter - Passion



25th April – 21st June

Maud Sulter (1960–2008) was an award-winning artist and writer, curator and gallerist of Ghanaian and Scottish heritage who lived and worked in Britain. In the 1990s she exhibited widely and internationally in solo shows and group exhibitions, representing Britain at the Johannesburg Biennale of 1995. Today, her work is to be found in numerous private and public collections, including the Scottish Parliament, the Arts Council Collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Council Collection, the Scottish National Galleries, several regional UK galleries, and the National Portrait Gallery by whom she was commissioned in 2001 to photograph leading children’s writers.

Sulter’s significance lies in her pioneering innovation of photographic forms that interrogated the visual representation of black women. This sustained visual inquiry was pursued not through the more familiar routes of documentary or reportage. Sulter critically engaged with the western canon, the histories of art, photography and modernism to challenge the past and remake the future. Putting black women centrally within the frame, she often focusing on lost or neglected figures, as in her sustained series of image-making with Jeanne Duval in mind. Distinctive to her work is a preoccupation with movements between Africa and Europe over the past six centuries and more, the longevity and complexities of African diasporas in Europe.

Sulter won critical praise for her bold, experimental and exquisitely produced works with their sensual splendour and inventive image construction. Her later self-portraits were applauded for their beauty, sensuality, confidence and ability to dramatise a situation.

This exhibition is an Autograph ABP / Street Level Photoworks partnership, in association with TrAIN (Transnational Art and Nation) and is the outcome of a curatorial research project by Deborah Cherry, Professor of Art History at the University of the Arts London, and Deputy Director of TrAIN, and artist and curator Ajamu, funded by Arts Council England.


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  • Professor Deborah Cherry

    TrAIN Member

    I studied in the UK (Edinburgh and London) and I have worked in the UK, the USA, and in Europe, where I am now at the University of Amsterdam. Following my PhD I have written extensively on art in Britain in the nineteenth and early twentieth century with two books, Painting Women (1994) and Beyond the Frame: Feminism and Visual Culture (2000) along with exhibitions such as ‘The Edwardian Era’ (co-curated 1987).
    Find out more about Professor Deborah Cherry