New Visions and Voices: Contemporary Portraits by Women

A Creative Constellation: Contemporary Women in the Arts
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New Visions and Voices: Contemporary Portraits by Women
Room 31
National Portrait Gallery
St Martin’s Place
London, WC2H 0HE

Following the success of its inaugural exhibition “Reframing Narratives” at the National Portrait Gallery, which featured Violeta Sofia (Mbala Mbassa) as the sole contemporary photographer of colour, the gallery is expanding its lens. Violeta Sofia, renowned for her celebrity photography work, proposed an ambitious project to Flavia Frigeri, the exhibition curator, emphasising the need for greater inclusivity. This collaboration has culminated in an exhibition titled “New Visions and Voices: Contemporary Portraits by Women”

The exhibition, a groundbreaking showcase of female photographers and sitters, with a particular focus on women of colour, features photographers Ronan Mckenzie, Nadine Ijewere and many others. This exhibition marks the second major female photography event since the gallery’s grand reopening as its commits to diverse representation in the arts.

New Visions and Voices: Contemporary Portraits by Women
Violeta Sofia (Mbala Mbassa)
© Violeta Sofia

“It is a celebration of the diversity of contemporary creative women and the depth of their individual achievements. It also recognises networks of connection, friendship and collaboration between sitters and artists. These influential women served as modern muses for the artists who portrayed them. At the same time, their own work and ideas are shaping culture and identity in the 21st century.” National Portrait Gallery

New Visions and Voices: Contemporary Portraits by Women
Reframing Narratives exhibition NPG 2023
© Violeta Sofia

Violeta Sofia’s engagement with the National Portrait Gallery began in 2021 as the gallery was preparing for the Reframing Narratives Exhibition. As her works were being acquired she asked a poignant question: were there other contemporary black female photographers featured? Her inquiry and offer to assist in adding more diversity to the Gallery’s collection sparked a meaningful dialogue about representation in the arts.

This conversation led to the conception of an inclusive project, aiming to amplify the voices and perspectives of more women of colour in photography.

New Visions and Voices: Contemporary Portraits by Women is permanent exhibition on view in Room 31 at the National Portrait Gallery

©2024 National Portrait Gallery