Explore The Extravagant Photography Of "Black Dandies" This Summer

It's another excellent exhibition from London’s Photographers’ Gallery.

The Photographers' Gallery should be a permanent feature of anyone's cultural map of London. In a beautiful, recently refurbished building off Oxford Street, flooded with natural light, it puts on exhibitions, film screenings and has the city's best gift shop for buying funny postcards. At the moment, they're running an exquisite study of black masculinity until September.


Hassan Hajjaj Afrikan Boy, 2012 © Hassan Hajjaj Courtesy of the artist

The “black dandy” as an aesthetic and subculture (think Andre 3000's look) can be traced to Victorian Britain, when black servants would be dressed in flamboyant clothing by their white masters. The look, however, was soon to be appropriated into a tool of self-affirmation.


Malick Sidibé, On the motorbike in my studio, 1973 © Malick Sidibé
 

In 2016, when black masculinity is a force for “trendsetting in fashion, music and global style culture” as well as an apparently lethal threat to law enforcement officers across the Western world, Made You Look acquires a radical relevance. “In this context”, read the notes, “dandyism isn’t simply about sharp dressing but…problematising ideas of male identity.” 

Entrance to ‘Made You Look! Dandyism and Black Masculinity’ is free before 12pm, and an exhibition day press is £3 (£2.50 conc.) The Photographer’s Gallery is a 20-minute walk from Generator London; the nearest tube is Oxford Circus.