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Brief Published: 11 Aug 2016

Exploring Black Masculinity and Dandyism: London Exhibitions

Photography Kristin-Lee Moolman. Art direction and styling Ibrahim Kamara

A number of current exhibitions in London are exploring black masculinity and dandyism within male identity, with central themes of gender, race and sexuality running throughout.

As part of Somerset House’s Utopian Voices Here and Now programme, recent Central Saint Martins graduate Ibrahim Kamara and South African photographer Kristin-Lee Moolman have collaborated on 2026, an exhibition that challenges hetero-normative attitudes to self-expression through fashion. In a series of photographs, the artists explore the future of masculine aesthetics, and the exhibition imagines a utopian ideal where current gender binary codes are replaced with a freedom to express identity without restriction.

Made You Look: Dandyism and Black Masculinity at the Photographer’s Gallery, examines conventional attitudes to black male identity and self-expression through dress. Curated by writer Ekow Eshun, the show features work by photographers including Moroccan-born Hassan Hajjaj, whose colourful portraits are also showcased in Making and Unmaking at London’s Camden Arts Centre. This exhibition, curated by Nigerian fashion designer Duro Olowu, follows similar themes of cultural identity and gender – featuring work from over 70 artists, including Bienese photographer Leonce Raphael Agbodejelou’s Musclemen series. 

London-based photographer and publisher Campbell Addy is another recent Central Saint Martins graduate challenging notions of diversity in the fashion industry by launching casting and modeling agency Nii, as well as Niijournal, a new print publication that explores empowerment and representation within race.

For more on changing attitudes to gender see The Gender Agenda and Gen Z & Gender: Beyond Binaries.