14 April—10 September 2023

Peter Brathwaite: Rediscovering Black Portraiture

During the first lockdown in 2020, with all his performances cancelled, baritone, artist, broadcaster and writer Peter Brathwaite began researching and reimagining more than 100 artworks.

These artworks featured portraits of Black sitters, as part of the online #GettyMuseumChallenge to use household objects to restage famous paintings. He called the photographic series Rediscovering Black Portraiture.

Alongside this project he also intensified his research into his dual heritage Barbadian roots, uncovering a wealth of detail about his enslaved and enslaver ancestors and their history, including an uprising of enslaved people in 1816 and songs of resistance they sang.

Three years on, with a London exhibition behind him and a book due out with Getty Publications, Peter Brathwaite brings his whole practice to the history of Georgian House Museum and the collections of Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. New interventions and sound installations reveal the Black presence hidden at the heart of our spaces and objects. The exhibition will open to coincide with the anniversary of the Barbados insurrection, 14 April 1816.

“These mirror images with their uncanny resemblances traverse space and time, spotlighting the black lives that have been silenced by the canon of western art, while also inviting us to interrogate the present.”  — Times (UK)

Peter Brathwaite’s restaged version of The Virgin of Guadalupe, and the original artwork, right. Anon, ‘The Virgin of Guadalupe’. Oil painting, 1745. Wellcome Collection. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) / Cropped from original and colour saturated