The UK’s National Portrait Gallery
4 April – 8 June 2008
Ondaatje Wing Main Hall. Free admission.
BLACK BRITISH ACTING TALENT CELEBRATED IN NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC SHOWCASE
The National Portrait Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in the UNDEREXPOSED arts program, part of the 4 The Record Initiative (4TR) created to highlight talent and achievement within the black British community and to bring their work to a wider audience. The main hall of the Ondaatje Wing will host a plasma screen installation, displaying dramatic portraits of thirty black British actors by photographer Franklyn Rodgers, while the wider programme will see UNDEREXPOSED events taking place at multiple sites across London from the beginning of April.
Photographed by Franklyn Rogers in atmospheric tones, bathed in reflective light, the sitters in this unique project urge an engagement with the viewer. The selection of thirty black British actors includes television legend Rudolph Walker (star of Love Thy Neighbour), Academy Award nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste, acclaimed stage actor David Oyelowo and Idris Elba, star of HBO’s new hit drama, The Wire.
Franklyn Rodgers sits at the cutting edge of contemporary photographic portraiture, bringing a unique approach and a style that is distinctly his own. He has created a diverse body of work over the last decade, spanning the arts, music, and corporate genres and including work for Polydor and National Geographic. As a recent recipient of the prestigious NESTA fellowship award, he has been able to further expand his endeavours, exploring cross-cultural identities on a global platform.
The 4 The Record Initiative was founded by actor Fraser James as a personal response to the national media debate which suggests that the absence of black role models for young people in the black British community is one reason for the rise in violence, gang culture and low achievement amongst young black adults. Drawing upon the wealth of talented black men and women in the British acting profession, Fraser James conceived of the UNDEREXPOSED programme as both a celebration of this talent and a means of inspiring young people looking for direction and guidance.
Fraser James comments: ‘UNDEREXPOSED is the culmination of a long held belief of mine that there are many potential black role models, but their visibility needs to be higher. I hope this project goes some way in achieving a greater level of recognition for the wealth of talent we have in the acting profession and to inspiring the next generation of black actors in this country.’
UNDERPEXPOSED is the first in a series of projects which will take place every two years, focusing on black British talent in different areas. It has been made possible thanks to the support of Arts Council England and deciBel.
In addition to the plasma screen installation at the National Portrait Gallery from 4 April 2008, the UNDEREXPOSED programme will include a poster campaign on the London Underground provided by the Mayor of London during April and a two site installation at Peckham High Street & Commercial Way from 2 April.
The actors photographed by Franklyn Rogers for UNDEREXPOSED are: ADJOA ANDOH; EARL CAMERON; NOEL ANTHONY CLARKE; DONA CROLL; IDRIS ELBA; TREVA ETIENNE; DON GILET; DAVID HAREWOOD; FRASER JAMES; LENNIE JAMES; MARIANNE JEAN-BAPTISTE; JOCELYN JEE ESIEN; WIL JOHNSON; KWAME KWEI-ARMAH; MARTINA LAIRD; DELROY LINDO; ADRIAN LESTER; PETRA LETANG; PATRICE NAIAMBANA; WUNMI MOSAKU; DAVID OYELOWO; DIANE PARISH; HUGH QUARSHIE; MARSHA THOMASON; COLIN SALMON; EAMONN WALKER; ASHLEY WALTERS; DON WARRINGTON and ANGELA WYNTER.
PHOTO: Angela Wynter by Franklyn Rodgers, Copyright: Franklyn Rodgers