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Herbert to receive self-portrait by Claudette Johnson

The Herbert will receive a self-portrait by Claudette Johnson, an artist associated with the BLK Art Group, founded in Wolverhampton in 1979, as it prepares to participate in Coventry City of Culture in 2021.

Entitled Doing Lines 1 (Lockdown) Line Journeys, 2020, the oil pastel on paper drawing was created in lockdown. Johnson says “this is part of a series of larger scale 'warm-up' drawings - the equivalent of scales practice for a pianist. I make them when I have no sitters when I want to work from life, as a way of exploring line, trying to find a new way across a familiar body; when I want to work freely without too much reflection but at the same time with deep concentration.”

Francis Ranford, Cultural and Creative Director, Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, said: “Claudette Johnson is widely recognised as one of the most accomplished figurative artists working in Britain today and her drawings of black men and women powerfully capture the character and humanity of her subjects. In fact the Herbert first exhibited Johnson’s work in 1983 as part of a ground breaking exhibition by the BLK Art group, so it’s wonderful to finally be able to add an example of her work to the permanent collection. She is an artist whose work we have long been interested in and we’re sure that this work will engage and inspire our audiences.”