Artist Profile: Miranda Forrester

14 January 2022

Miranda Forrester explores the queer Black female gaze in painting and addresses the invisibility of women of colour in the history of art. She is one of the newly acquired artists to the Arts Council Collection and her work The Muses (After Tamara de Lempicka), 2018, features in the National Partners Programme Exhibition, Where There’s Space to Grow at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

This exhibition is curated by the Celebrate Different Collective, Sunderland Culture’s Young Art Leaders.  The group chose artworks from the Arts Council Collection that they felt revealed stories that encourage us to dig deep by reflecting on the past or looking ahead to a shared progressive future.

Miranda Forrester’s work is a key part of the young curators’ exhibition which asks: how can we create space for all of us to grow? Forrester’s practice investigates how her identity affects the way she portrays her subjects and how her paintings can rearticulate the language and history of life drawing through a queer Black feminist desiring lens.

In a recent interview, the artist explains: “I feel it is rare to see any representations within the history of art that are relatable and authentic. Even when there are paintings of black womxn, mixed race womxn, or people of colour, they are not painted by those same people, it’s always someone else’s voice. It’s important that everyone has their place in art history and can see themselves in works and can feel like they relate to the people in those paintings.”



Forrester extends to her interest in the queer Black female gaze and history of art to the relationship between the muse and artist. Traditionally, muses are silent, often unnamed and portrayed as having a passive role in the production of the artwork. However, in The Muses (After Tamara de Lempicka), 2018, Forrester sees the process of life drawing as a collaboration that is enhanced when the artist has an understanding of the life, personality and character of the muse. In this work, she stretches plastic over the frame and paints onto the highly primed, smooth surface so that the viewer can see through the bodies.

The surface becomes more than skin: the figures depicted become real and alive. The layering of the transparent materials alludes to the complexities and nuances of identity. Her work celebrates women's bodies, the joy in occupying feminine identities and being in relation with one another.


Where There’s Space to Grow is on view from 15 January to 12 March 2022 at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens. 

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The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.