Black is the New Black: Simon Frederick’s striking portraits celebrating black British achievement

The National Portrait Gallery’s largest acquisition of portraits of Afro-Caribbean sitters has gone on public display for the first time with artist and director Simon Frederick’s Black is the New Black.

All images courtesy of the artist and NPG. Via Creative Boom submission.

All images courtesy of the artist and NPG. Via Creative Boom submission.

The display brings together exceptional figures from the world of politics, business, culture, religion and science, acknowledging the significant contributions of black Britons to contemporary culture.

Amongst the high profile sitters are Naomi Campbell, Sir Trevor McDonald, Thandie Newton, Dizzee Rascal, Laura Mvula, Sir Lenny Henry and Les Ferdinand, photographed by Simon Frederick as part of his acclaimed BBC TWO documentary Black is the New Black, broadcast in 2016.

Each of the 38 portraits featured in the display will be brought to life through an augmented reality app, enabling visitors to view video interview content from the BBC TWO Black is the New Black series on their mobile screens. After downloading the app, visitors can hold their phones up to the portraits, which will come to life with moving images and audio of the sitter.

Simon Frederick’s work spans from celebrity portraiture to art exhibitions to global advertising campaigns and TV. You can follow his work via his Instagram.

Black is the New Black: Portraits by Simon Frederick is being shown at the National Portrait Gallery, London until 27 January 2019.


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