Painting with Light: The Photography of Ming Smith
21 May 2020 – 25 July 2020
Ming Smith was the first, and for many years, the only woman member of the Kamoinge Workshop, a collective of African American photographers based in New York. The group formed with the joint aim to challenge negative representations of black communities and to develop photography as an artistic practice. In 1975 she was the first African American woman photographer to have work acquired by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Throughout her career she has travelled extensively, capturing life in America, Africa, Europe and East Asia.
“You don’t [make art] for money, especially as a Black artist, or because you are going to have a show, or because you are going to get love or attention. You do it because there is that need to create — and that has been part of my survival; that has helped me survive” – Ming Smith
This exhibition contains works from the start of the 1970s to the present day and explores the painterly quality of Ming Smith’s photographic work. From photographs taken in the New York neighbourhoods of Coney Island and Harlem, to the cities of Abidjan, Ivory Coast and Gambela, Ethiopia, the exhibition reflects the diversity of Smith’s personal experience, the openness of her perspective and her embrace of subjectivity as a fundamental conceptual choice.
Ming Smith: ‘Light is Everything’ interview www.bjp-online.com