Collage of a Black woman looking into the distance, cut out from magazines

About Sharon Walters: Seeing Ourselves

“When Blackness is so often equated as ‘other’, for me, it is essential to offer an alternative narrative of empowerment.” - Sharon Walters

Seeing Ourselves is the debut exhibition by artist, Sharon Walters and is a candid celebration of Black women in their elegance and power.

Walters’ uses a mixture of photographic sources, including her own photographs of female friends, magazine clippings, found and donated images, to create highly crafted hand-assembled works that explore themes of femininity, identity and race.

There are a variety of scales on display, ranging from large paperworks to tiny cut-outs that fit in the palm of a hand. Walters rarely applies self-portraiture, however for this exhibition she has made a new largescale, sculptural work, Beneath the Surface, 2022, encased within a light box structure. This piece draws on the artist’s fascination with nature and the extent to which green spaces are racialised and her growing confidence to be seen.

Walters is an educator, activist and advocate, her emphasis on women of African descent and their individuality is a form of appreciation and reform. Whilst Black women are frequently denied space within museums and galleries, both as subject and artist, Walters seeks to readdress the balance by normalising their inclusion in her art. Through her carefully constructed images, she simultaneously references under-representation whilst using art as a form of meditation and self-care.

The right to "take up space" in places not often seen is at the root of Walters’ artistic practice. At its heart, Seeing Ourselves is an insight into her experiences as a Black British woman and a conscious decision to reframe, to look deeper and reclaim agency through art.

Sharon Walters, Bold Strength, 2019.