Barbara Walker was born in Birmingham, England, in 1964. She studied at the University of Central England, Birmingham, and completed post-graduate studies at Wolverhampton University. Her work is informed by the social, political and cultural realities that affect her life and the lives of those around her. Growing up in Birmingham, her experiences have directly shaped a practice concerned with issues of class and power, gender, race, representation and belonging. Her figurative drawings and paintings tell contemporary stories hinged on historical circumstances, making them universally understood and reflecting a human perspective on the state of affairs in her native Britain and elsewhere.
Walker is the 2020 Bridget Riley Fellow at the British School at Rome. In 2019 she was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours for services to British Art and in 2017 she exhibited at the 57th Venice Biennale as part of the Diaspora Pavilion. In 2017 she received the Drawing Room Bursary Award and inaugural Evelyn Williams Drawing Award in association with the Jerwood Charitable Foundation. She has previously been an artist in residence at Facebook’s headquarters in London.
Walker’s recent solo exhibitions include Turner Cotemporary, Margate (2019), Jerwood Gallery, Hastings (2018), Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham (2016), James Hockey Gallery at University for the Creative Arts, Surrey (2015) and New Art Gallery, Walsall (2013). Significant group exhibitions in the UK and internationally include Firstsite, Colchester; Arts Exchange, University of Essex; SCAD, Savannah, Georgia; Somerset House, London; Yale Centre for British Art, Connecticut; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Alan Cristea Gallery, London (2019); MEWO Kunsthalle, Memmingen; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham; Modern Art Oxford, Oxford; the Drawing Room, London and the Dakar Biennale, Senegal (2018). In 2020 she participated in the second Lahore Biennale.
Her work is held in private and public collections including the British Museum, London; Government Art Collection, London; Arts Council England, London; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham; Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry; Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, Clinton NY; and Yale Center for British Art, Connecticut.
Barbara Walker lives and works in Birmingham, England.
In the Press: Walker has portrayed each filled-in figure with attentive tenderness
In the Press: Black figures emerge from the footnotes of classical art
In the Press: The resulting effect is of a spreading colourless rash on bloodless skin
Barbara Walker at Coventry Cathedral
Barbara Walker at Tate Britain
Barbara Walker: The changing status of Black British art
Barbara Walker: New book
Barbara Walker in Art for Life
Barbara Walker: Place, Space and Who
New Book | Vitamin D3: Today's Best in Contemporary Drawing
Barbara Walker included in Five2Watch
Barbara Walker: "The space I seek to reclaim is that of visibility"
Barbara Walker Vital Arts interview
Barbara Walker in 'Open Your Eyes'
Barbara Walker: "We are living in disturbing times."
Barbara Walker: ‘From the moment I make the first mark, I’ve already said goodbye’
Barbara Walker: Vanishing Point
Exhibitions at Cristea Roberts Gallery
- Ali Banisadr
- Georg Baselitz
- Christiane Baumgartner
- Rana Begum
- Pablo Bronstein
- Gordon Cheung
- Rhys Coren
- Michael Craig-Martin
- Dexter Dalwood
- Ian Davenport
- Miriam de Búrca
- Jan Dibbets
- Jim Dine
- Joy Gerrard
- Antony Gormley
- Marie Harnett
- Idris Khan
- Langlands & Bell
- Richard Long
- Mick Moon
- David Nash
- Paul Noble
- Julian Opie
- Mimmo Paladino