Peter Brathwaite to Present ‘Visible Skin: Rediscovering the Renaissance through Black Portraiture’

By David Salazar

Opera singer and broadcaster Peter Brathwaite will present “Visible Skin: Rediscovering the Renaissance through Black Portraiture,” a new outdoor exhibition across King’s College London’s “Strand Campus.”

The showcase, which is set to take place on Sept. 10, 2021, will feature photographs and other artwork by Brathwaite. The aim of the presentation is to decontextualize the Renaissance, a time of cultural “rebirth,” through the lens of imagery centering on Black people. Brathwaite restaged many famous paintings using items from his family’s past and from his cultural heritage in Barbados in Britain.

“Rediscovering Black Portraiture is about platforming less dominant voices – specifically the Black lives silenced by the canon of Western Art. My collaboration with the Renaissance Skin research team at King’s College London represents some of the stories and lives that have remained hidden from view. I hope Visible Skin can start a dialogue that allows us all to speak about a past that is often avoided in the present,” said Brathwaite in a press statement.

Evelyn Welch, Professor of Renaissance Studies, Provost & Senior Vice President (Arts & Sciences) at King’s College London added, “Skin is the most visible part of our bodies – sometimes we ignore it, many times we define and categorize it. It has been a privilege to work with Peter Brathwaite and Hannah Murphy, Lecturer in History at King’s on Visible Skin, an exhibition inspired by our Wellcome Trust funded in-depth research on Renaissance Skin. Brathwaite’s photography asks us to look again at the visibility of race in the Renaissance period in Europe. We hope this intervention in the public spaces around the Strand will provoke comment, dialogue and discussion.”