Nahem Shoa: Black Presence – A Review

Nahem Shoa: Black Presence – A Review

What’s on my mind? This. After several delays I was today able to view Nahem Shoa’s ”Black Presence” exhibition at The Atkinson in Southport. This is monumentally fine art. Even the best reproductions didn’t prepare me for how powerful the canvases are ”face to face”. From three metres out the largest portraits are almost hyper-real. At two metres distance they are sculptural. Closer than one metre and they glow from within and sing a chorale about every chromatic value you ever associated with the word ”black”, then take you to school about all the ones you didn’t. The crucial political point is that we don’t see black skin in ‘proper art gallery’ contexts – unless it is a servant, hovering like the Cheshire Cat behind Olympia – but this exhibition goes way beyond the orbit of themes established by
Ellison’s ”Invisible Man”. It is joyful and powerful and nuanced, and if this doesn’t make you think and feel something new about the phrase ‘persons of colour’, nothing ever will. Truly outstanding painting.
Review was written by The Rev. Dr Mark Price. PhD (BIHE), PhD (MMU), Ba (Hons).


Nahem Shoa: Black Presence is open until 23 November. Mon – Sat, 10am – 4pm.


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Posted on 13 November 2019 under Exhibitions

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