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Inspiring Photographs

Collecting for the Future

Tereza Červeňová » John Akomfrah » Miles Aldridge » Richard Ansett » Pogus Caesar » Julia Fullerton-Batten » Peter Kennard » Carla van de Puttelaar » Paul Wetherall » & others

Exhibition: – 1 Jun 2020

National Portrait Gallery

St Martin's Place
WC2H OHE London

+44 (0)20-73060055


closed until spring 2023

The Photographs Department is one of the most active areas of collecting within the National Portrait Gallery. Within a remit that covers both contemporary and historic periods, an important area of new acquisitions aims to respond to recent political, social and cultural events. Such photographs not only celebrate the achievement of individuals who are making contributions to Britain and the world, but also are part of considerations about ideas of British identity that are increasingly relevant, such as ‘Who are we?’ or, ‘How does portraiture represent us and our stories?’  In working towards our major transformation project, Inspiring People, the Gallery’s biggest ever development, these questions have taken on particular significance. They have challenged our thinking about the strengths and the limits of the Collection; of who is seen and who is not represented. Alongside contemporary musicians and politicians, the display includes women photographers, BAME artists and sitters, and members of the LGTBQ community, highlighting the Gallery’s ongoing commitment to represent diversity. The photographs in this room bring to light achievement in a wide range of fields and public life, reflecting the multiplicity of ideas and backgrounds shaping debate and marking the present, but also inspiring us towards the future.