Follow Us on Twitter

Raphael Albert: Miss Black and Beautiful - MAC Birmingham

Raphael Albert: Miss Black and Beautiful

Exhibition preview

AUTOGRAPH ABP’s celebrated exhibition Raphael Albert: Miss Black and Beautiful is on display at MAC in Birmingham until July 1, 2018.

This show is the first major solo exhibition of photographs by the late Raphael Albert – cultural promoter, entrepreneur and photographer.

For more than three decades from the late 1960s, Albert organised and documented numerous black British beauty pageants and other cultural events, while creating a portfolio of photographs of aspiring models in his home studio.

His long and successful career as a promoter and chronicler of pageants included the establishment of Miss Black and Beautiful, Miss West Indies in Great Britain, and Miss Grenada.

These competitions celebrated the global ‘Black is Beautiful’ aesthetic of the 1970s in a local west London context: paired with the obligatory bathing costumes and high heels, Albert’s contestants often sported large Afro hairstyles, inventing and reinventing themselves on stage while articulating a particular and multifaceted black femininity as part of a widely contested and ambiguous cultural performance.

Albert’s photographs serve as testament to this profound moment of self-articulation and collective celebration in London’s pan Afro-Caribbean communities, and beyond.

The exhibition is curated by Renée Mussai, Senior Curator and Head of Archive & Research at Autograph, London.

Image: Raphael Albert, Miss Black & Beautiful Sybil McLean with fellow contestants, Hammersmith Palais, London, 1972. From the portfolio ‘Black Beauty Pageants’. Courtesy of © Raphael Albert/Autograph ABP.

Admission: Free.

Opening Times: Daily from 9am to 9pm.

MAC Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B12 9QH