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Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at Tate Britain

Out & About: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at Tate Britain

We recently paid a visit to Tate Britain to see their uplifting light installation ‘Remembering a Brave New World’. This week, we ventured inside to see their highly-anticipated exhibition of the British-Ghanaian artist and shortlist contender for the Turner Prize in 2013, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. 

The exhibition is the first to celebrate the artist’s work in depth, spanning from when Lynette graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts in 2003 to more recent paintings created this year.

As you walk around the exhibition space, you are welcomed in each room by beautifully rendered figures. The scale of her artworks is impressive.

All the characters are drawn from a variety of source materials and are in fact fictitious creations. They are studies of people who don’t exist, and the artist has no models or sitters as reference.

Her figurative paintings create a timeless quality, allowing us to imagine what could be happening in the scene or what could possibly happen next.


The figures are removed from any surrounding context, making it difficult for the viewer to place the work historically.  Architectural and design details are also absent and there is a lack of style, fashion, culture or any other specific periodical reference to guide us, which makes these artworks ageless and enigmatic. 

Lynette is gifted at painting ‘wet-on-wet’ and is known for completing canvases as quickly as in one day, to avoid having to break the “skin” of paint that dries overnight. Her colour palette is muted and serene but highly contrasted: greens, greys and blacks and an extraordinary variety of browns, contrasting with splashes of yellow, pink. vivid blues and emerald greens.

The show will be on view at the Tate Britain until May 2021 and will then travel to Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain. We most definitely recommend a visit to this powerful exhibition. 

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