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Sylvia Snowden, Elueeta Johnson, 1978. © Sylvia Snowden. Courtesy Edel Assanti and Franklin Parrasch Gallery. Photo by Andy Keate
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Sylvia Snowden: Painting Humanity

16 March - 3 November 2024

Exhibition entry is £13 / £11 / FREE for Members, Wakefield District residents and under 18s. Ticket includes entry to all our gallery spaces on the day of visit.

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‘Sylvia Snowden’s works are just as vital today as when she was making them in Washington DC decades ago’ The World of Interiors

Sylvia Snowden: Painting Humanity is the first public gallery exhibition in Europe of African-American painter Sylvia Snowden’s work. Presenting a selection of work from a career that spans six decades, this exhibition includes large early paintings through to more recent works.

Snowden works with oil paint and pastels as well as acrylic and collage to create her expressionist, distorted, monumental figures, capturing the psychological essence of her subjects – their triumphs, torments, joys and pains – in thick impasto, the technique where paint is laid on an area of the surface thickly.

Sylvia Snowden

Sylvia Snowden was born in 1942 in North Carolina and raised in Louisiana and Washington DC, before taking undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Fine Art at Howard University between 1960 and 1965. Snowden’s artistic training took place during a pivotal moment in Black American political history and the civil rights struggle, and she became deeply invested in these issues. Snowden describes her powerful figurative paintings as ‘portraits of humanity’.

‘Sylvia Snowden’s monumental expressionistic paintings hit you in the gut. Bodies arch, hunch and contort, emanating suffering, fear, joy and aspiration. But what really holds your gaze, even more than their misshapen, hyperextended forms painted in gorgeous hues, is their fierce vitality.’ The Guardian