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Antwaun Sargent
Saatchi Video

Im Oktober kooperierte Burberry mit der Saatchi Gallery in London für die Ausstellung „The New Black Vanguard“, in Anlehnung an das gleichnamige Buch von Antwaun Sargent. Die Ausstellung rückte das Leben Schwarzer Menschen und die Relevanz Schwarzer Kunstschaffender in den Fokus.

Sargent ist nicht nur Autor und Kritiker, sondern ebenfalls renommierter Kurator. In seiner Ausstellung schuf er einen Raum, der die Wahrnehmung von Identität, Schönheit und Leidenschaft der aufstrebenden Generation mit dem Wesen von Burberry fusionierte. Mithilfe von Fotografien und Videos, die in Zusammenarbeit mit Burberry entstanden sind, beleuchtete der Raum die innovativen und integrativen Möglichkeiten, die sich eröffnen, wenn Mode und Kunst aufeinander treffen – ein Thema, das den Kern von Antwaun Sargents Arbeit wiedergibt. Wir haben den Kurator getroffen, um mehr darüber zu erfahren, was ihn in seinem künstlerischen Schaffen antreibt.

Chase Hall
Photographer: Chase Hall

Burberry: Your book ‘The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion’ helped change the discourse of inclusivity in the art space – how did you coin the phrase ‘The New Black Vanguard’ and what does it mean to you?

Antwaun: ‘The New Black Vanguard’ is my way of describing this contemporary emerging cohort of young photographers, all of whom are employing the camera as a means of contemplating the Black experience through the intersection of art and fashion – two industries that have historically been dominated by white narratives. The phrase isn’t restricted to a technical definition but nods to a constantly evolving space of young creatives unafraid to uproot historical conventions. ‘The New Black Vanguard’ is not about simply sparking a moment of recognition for underrepresented artists but for outlining an expansive amorphous space that invites more artists into the discourse.

You’re fiercely passionate about spotlighting Black creatives – what drew you to the fifteen artists featured at ‘The New Black Vanguard’ exhibition who are also featured in your book?

Each of the chosen photographers are rethinking the spaces they inhabit and the audiences they cater or confront. From Tyler Mitchell’s landscapes to Awol Erizku’s staging, there is no mistaking the innovative nature each of these artists narratively invoke through their work.

Through making noise about and space for Black creatives, you’ve already had a profound effect on the art world. What’s your underlying mission?

I have always been interested in engaging with artists that contemplate and confront issues of identity, race, and representation through an array of mediums, genres, industries, even, and artistic processes. It’s about recognising voices that for too long have been overlooked by dominant narratives in the industry and uplifting them in a way that is conducive to the artist and surrounding discourse. That, at its core, has been central in all of my work.


„‚The New Black Vanguard‘ ist nicht bloß eine einmalige Anerkennung unterrepräsentierter Künstler_innen. Es geht darum, Freiraum zu schaffen, damit eine größere Vielfalt kreativer Personen an der Gestaltung des neuen Narrativs mitwirken kann.”
Frame Saatchi Exhibition

What do you look for in a piece of art?

When I’m looking at art, I’m looking for something new. I am interested in work that sparks new conversations and opens up opportunities that may have not been present in the past.

What photographers are on your radar at the moment?

Tyler Mitchell, Deana Lawson, Awol Erizku, Renell Medrano and Liz Johnson Artur.

You’ve worked with a host of global changemakers, artists and creators in your career so far – who has inspired you the most and why?

At the moment, I’ve been working a lot with Tyler Mitchell. We just opened two presentations of his in London during October. The first at Gagosian Davies Street and for the second we supported his 2022 Frieze Masters exhibition where he became the first contemporary artist commissioned to show at the fair. It’s been fantastic to witness him articulate ideas through new photographs, works on fabric and mirror, and a new installation, which reflects on historical motifs in the context of an Edenic vision of Black beauty and desire.
Saatchi Exhibition
Saatchi Exhibition

What’s the future of contemporary photography?

The future of contemporary photography is young, and with some artists, it’s already here. It’s a future that is not concerned with personal gain but in collectively showcasing a new narrative that rejects all notions of ‘dominance’ put forth by whiteness. It affects and calls attention to the way blackness is portrayed and perceived by Black and non-black audiences. The future is unafraid; it’s insistent; and it demands to be seen.

You’ve long discussed the synergy between fashion and art – where and how do you think they intersect?

I have this intense interest in the ‘in-between’ and fashion and art have always found themselves in conversation with each other. Basquiat walking for Comme De Garcon, YSL referencing Mondrian, Kerry James Marshall collaborating with Grace Wales Bonner. The synergy is decades old, and I have many projects that contemplate the intersection in a way that helps to bring context and history to that space in the art and fashion world.

What’s the best advice you ever received as an up-and-coming young Black creative?

Stay true to yourself.

What is the best advice you can offer to up-and-coming young Black artists and creatives?

Put yourself and your work out there, that’s the biggest step. Don’t be afraid to push back against what is deemed ‘conventional’ or ‘universal.’ These no longer hold the weight they once were perceived to.


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