Maud Sulter

19th September 1960 - 27th February 2008

Contemporary fine artist and writer

Maud Sulter was born in Glasgow, and was of Scots and Ghanaian descent.

She attained a Master's degree in Photographic Theory. Some of her photographic work invited the audience to look at images of Black women who weren't objectified.

Sulter's photographic practice included contemporary portraiture and montage. Her work typically referenced historical and mythical subjects. Her photography was exhibited in across the UK and internationally, including at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1987; the Johannesburg Biennial (1996); and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2003. She received a number of awards and residencies, including the British Telecom New Contemporaries Award 1990 and the Momart Fellowship at Tate Liverpool, also in 1990. In 2011-12, her work was shown at Tate Britain in the exhibition Thin Black Lines, which was a re-staging of the seminal 1986 exhibition The Thin Black Line at the ICA.

Maud Sulter's work is held in a number of collections, including the Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Arts Council Collection, the British Council, the Scottish Arts Council and the Scottish Parliament Collection.

As well as writing about art history, Sulter was also a poet and playwright, whose works include As a Blackwoman (1985), which won the Vera Bell Prize for poetry that year; Zabat (1989); and Sekhmet (2005). Maud explored the connections between her two cultures in her poetry. She also wrote a play about Jerry Rawlings, entitled Service to Empire.

She was active in feminist communities in London in the early 1980s, and while working with a women’s education group programmed ‘Check It’, a groundbreaking two-week show at the Drill Hall showcasing Black women’s creativity.

Maud Sulter returned to live in Scotland with her two young daughters, and then moved to Dumfries where she battled against cancer for several years. She died at the age of 47.

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