Barbara Walker produces expressive paintings illustrating social interactions in public spaces, from churches and dancehalls to barbershops. Walker considers her work to be social documentary and in her paintings consciously aims to challenge what she sees as the misunderstandings and stereotypes that abound about the African-Caribbean community in Britain, offering instead a positive alternative vision through her paintings.
Boundary II is taken from the series Private Face which focused on the African-Caribbean community of Birmingham. This painting draws on the tradition of nineteenth-century realism and takes inspiration from its depiction of the labouring classes of the day. Walker’s subject is a barbershop, a familiar sight in the area of Handsworth in Birmingham where she grew up. Using a limited palette of muted colours, Boundary II reveals an intimate scene between a barber and client, conveying a sense of mutual respect, trust and affection between the two subjects. In doing so, the artist seeks to dispel the negative portrayal of black males which dominate the media.
- Artwork Details: 121 x 182cm
- Material description: Oil on canvas
- Credit line: Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist. Gift of the artist 2014.
- Theme: Figurative
- Medium: Painting
- Accession number: ACC17/2014