Call out to artists: Black Lives Matter art commission

Posted on by Fay Curtis.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is seeking a new work of art that responds to the Black Lives Matter movement.

To support the process of decolonising the museum, we are working to make our collection more representative of the diverse cultures in Bristol.

A private donor has gifted our charity, Bristol Museums Development Trust, £1,500 to acquire or commission a new work that is inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests and the horrific deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Mark Duggan, Anthony Grainger, Cynthia Jarret, Cherry Groce and sadly others, through institutional racism.

We are inviting artists to submit a proposal to the museum for a 2D work. The commission will be displayed at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and will form part of the museum’s art collection.

The brief

Are you interested in the issue of under-representation of art by people of colour in museums? Could you make a direct response to the Black Lives Matter movement or recent events?

Please send details of how your practice responds to the issues that have arisen through Black Lives Matter.

This should take the form of text (250-500 words) and illustrations. If you prefer, you can create a PowerPoint, PDF, or a short video describing your idea (max length 3.5 minutes).

Your idea can be about inclusion, about representation, about museum collections (Bristol’s or in general) or about the under-representation of Black artists in museum collections (Bristol’s or general). It could be a direct response to Black Lives Matter or recent events. Or it could be about your own experience and/or how Black Lives Matter relates to your experience.

We are seeking a 2D work. This can take the form of painting, collage, drawing, printmaking – or a medium you can make the case for.

Please outline what you propose to do, with good illustrations showing examples of your practice.

To help us select your work you will need to show that:

  • It is visually striking
  • It demonstrates your understanding of the issues around Black Lives Matter
  • It is distinctive

You can also propose an existing work if you believe it fits the brief.

Shortlisted artists will be invited to discuss their proposal with us via Zoom. We will ask to see examples of your work.

The museum is currently closed, so it is not possible to you to visit the space where the work will be displayed. However, we do have a 360 degree tour of the modern and contemporary art gallery. To give you an idea about what is currently in the gallery, take a look at our Gallery Guide (PDF 193KB).

Our collections online and Black history stories may offer you some inspiration.


Please send your proposal to [email protected] and [email protected] by Wednesday 30 September. You will also need to complete the Equality and Diversity Monitoring Form.

We particularly encourage applications from candidates from groups who are under-represented in the museum’s art collection, especially Black and minority ethnic candidates.

The selection will be by a panel including the donor, the curator, Dorothy Price (University of Bristol), Shawn Sobers (UWE Bristol) and one of the young creatives we have worked with in the museum.

Shortlisted artists will be invited to a Zoom meeting to discuss their work with three panel members.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.