Thursday 25th April saw the opening of Autograph’s joint exhibitions: “[sur]passing” and “Untitled” by Lola Flash and Maxine Walker. The exhibitions’ combined purpose was to showcase the intersectional LGBTQ+ and black experience in the UK and US, from a series of portraits emphasising on the importance of individuality and gender expression.

The Autograph in Shoreditch’s exhibitions celebrating diversity in race and gender, drew together an unsurprisingly wide mix of people; from young Shoreditch creatives looking for inspiration, friends of the photographers, to BME individuals looking to support fellow artists of colour and representation in the industry. As you walk in, the first exhibition you see is “[sur]passing]” a group of portraits showing the industrial city skyline behind models staring into the camera. It’s the work of Lola Flash, the New Jersey born artist, who’s intention behind the exhibition was show the different faces of the black experience in an urban setting and the different walks of life of LGBTQ+ people of colour. Even the title of the exhibition is a play on words combining the notion of passing (whether that be in terms of gender expression and conformity or the effects of assimilation) and the need to surpass expectations of how certain groups behave by increasing the visibility of LGBTQ+ people of colour.

This meshed well the message of “Untitled” by Maxine Walker which explored the complexities of black womanhood through a series of ten black and white self-portraits, of her seemingly peeling away layers of skin; in a way saying that her blackness cannot be and should not be displaced. Born in Birmingham, the photographer had set out in the mid 90’s creating creative collectives for black female artists, to showcase talents while being a part of a community. “Untitled” being her first solo exhibition in over twenty-two years, was an amazing reintroduction to this space of black photography.

Overall, the exhibition was a calm space with open-minded individuals prepared to talk about the issues not just black or LGBTQIA+ groups face, but taking part in recognising the minorities of minorities.