Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s oil paintings focus on fictional figures that exist outside of specific times and places. In a 2010 interview with Nadine Rubin Nathan in the New York Times Magazine, Yiadom-Boakye described her compositions as “suggestions of people…They don’t share our concerns or anxieties. They are somewhere else altogether.” This lack of fixed narrative leaves her work open to the projected imagination of the viewer.
Her paintings are rooted in traditional formal considerations such as line, color, and scale, and can be self-reflexive about the medium itself, but the subjects and the way in which the paint is handled is decidedly contemporary. Yiadom- Boakye’s paintings are typically completed in a day to best capture a single moment or stream of consciousness.
Her predominantly black cast of characters often attracts attention. In a recent interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist in Kaleidoscope, she explained, “Race is something that I can completely manipulate, or reinvent, or use as I want to. Also, they’re all black because…I’m not white.” However Yiadom-Boakye maintains, “People are tempted to politicize the fact that I paint black figures, and the complexity of this is an essential part of the work. But my starting point is always the language of painting itself and how that relates to the subject matter.”
Yiadom-Boakye was born in 1977 in London, where she is currently based. She attended Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Falmouth College of Arts and the Royal Academy Schools.
She is included in many institutional collections including the Tate Collection, London, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Miami Art Museum, Florida, the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, the Arts Council Collection, London, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Nasher Museum of Art, North Carolina, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye was born in London, UK where she currently lives and works. Her parents worked as nurses for the National Health Service after emigrating from Ghana. Yiadom-Boakye attended Central St Martins College of Art and Design, graduated from Falmouth College of Art in 2000, and completed an MA degree at the Royal Academy Schools in 2003.