Nahem Shoa: Racism, art, and Britain

The painter Nahem Shoa has spoken to us about the intersection of racism and the art world.
Known for his skilled oil paintings, and for having increased the number of portraits of Black and mixed-race British people on display in British museums, Shoa is a member of RAMM’s Contemporary Arts Panel. The panel provides independent advice and guidance to ensure that innovative, challenging work that celebrates the best contemporary practice in the country is included in the museum’s exhibitions programme. In 2014 he donated his portrait of the black British artist Desmond Haughton to RAMM.

In this video he explores the intersection of racism with his work, what it means to be British, and how museums have a responsibility to work for positive change.

“You change things by setting an example. You make people think. A museum is there to be thought-provoking.”

Nahem Shoa

Read more about RAMM’s Portrait of an African in this article by Decorative Arts Curator Sally Ayres, exploring the different historic figures that have been identified as the sitter in the portrait over the years.

Nahem Shoa’s exhibition Face of Britain is showing at Southampton City Art Gallery from 26 September 2020 – 20 February 2021.