Art in the Diaspora

“Portrait of a Top Boy” Exhibition Features African Artists in Somerset House

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Somerset House’s Embankment Galleries welcomed a vibrant new exhibition, marking the conclusion of Top Boy’s iconic television journey. Titled “Portrait of a Top Boy,” opened over the weekend to shine a spotlight on Black artists hailing from the UK, both established and emerging.

The exhibition, curated by Ronan McKenzie, pays homage to the profound cultural influence that Top Boy has wielded in British television. It delves into the series’s impact on its audience and the nurturing ground it has provided for budding British talents.

Joshua Donkor- Sully, 2023. Image courtesy of Instagram.

The exhibition features a collection of 16 newly commissioned portraits skillfully crafted by Afro-Uk Artists. They include Annan Affotey, Babajide Olatunji, Joshua Donkor, Brianna Parker, Gabriel Choto, Tejumola Butler Adenuga, Kione Grandison, Olivia Twist, and Natasha Muluswela. Among the notable faces portrayed are Ashley Walters, Little Simz, and Jasmine Jobson.

Image courtesy of Annan Affotey

Each artist embarks on a deeply personal exploration, delving into their unique connection with their chosen character. Moreover, they unravel their interpretation of what it truly means to be a “Top Boy.” This captivating exhibition’s location is The Embankment Galleries at Somerset House, in the heart of London. It’s a must-visit event for art enthusiasts and Top Boy fans from Saturday, September 9th, to Wednesday, September 13th, 2023.

Tejumola Butler Adenuga- StefanBrother’s Keeper, 2023
Ink on canvas, 150cm x 100cm. Image courtesy of Instagram.

As you step into this artistic celebration, you’ll be treated to an inspiring array of portraits that capture the essence of the characters. These artworks serve as a testament to the diverse talents of the UK’s Black artistic community. “Portrait of a Top Boy” is a vibrant tribute to the enduring legacy of Top Boy. It highlights its cultural significance and role in nurturing emerging talents. It’s an exhibition that invites viewers to ponder the broader implications of the series, sparking conversations about identity, representation, and the power of art in shaping our perceptions of the world.

For a limited time, you can immerse yourself in this dynamic showcase of creativity in London. Don’t miss out on this unique cultural experience, where art meets television and storytelling takes on new dimensions.


Rose Mwikali Musyoki is a creative writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business and Finance from the University of Embu, Kenya, and is the founder of Bloom Inc, an art startup in Kenya. Currently, she works as a writer for Art News Africa.

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