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Paintings Lynette Yiadom-Boakye Bourse de Commerce Paris
Paintings by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at the Bourse de Commerce museum in ParisPhotography Franck Mura/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images)

Over a third of Black creatives watch their white peers progress faster

New research published by the International Body of Art draws attention to racial disparity in the arts sector

New research published by the International Body of Art (IBA) has found that 38 per cent of Black creatives have watched their white peers’ careers progress faster than theirs.

The findings are published at a time when Black creatives are in higher demand than ever, with the market for Black American artists growing by nearly 400 per cent between 2008 and 2021 and the popularity of Black British film and TV shows such as Top Boy skyrocketing in recent years, with BAME representation on screen in Britain jumping to 25.6 per cent.

Despite this, recent reports from the Runnymeade Trust found that only 2.7 per cent of the workforce in the arts sector are from a “Black, Asian or ethnically diverse” background, with the same report finding that in early education, 94 per cent of arts teachers are white.

The IBA also found that over a quarter (26 per cent) of Black creatives have had to stop pursuing art careers due to limited financial backing, and that 32 per cent of Black creatives are the only person from a minority background at their workplace.

The IBA’s exhibitions aim to address the lack of accessible opportunities for Black creatives by offering emerging artists a cost-effective way to exhibit their work. These exhibitions attract hundreds of arts professionals and provide a vital platform for up-and-coming artists to showcase their talent and break into the industry.

Maria Artool, CEO of the IBA, said: “Within an often exclusive art world, our mission is to break down the entrenched barriers that exist – which often confine creativity. This means offering up a platform for underrepresented artists to thrive. Change demands more than mere representation; it requires authentic inclusion. Too often, the art world’s embrace of [marginalised] artists comes in the form of token gestures.” 

 “Our vision is to help create an art community that intertwines and weaves together talent from every corner,” she continued. “True diversity is about connection and collaboration and offering up a platform for everyone to discover their talents, passions and interests within the space. The time has come to redefine the narrative and trade tokenism for true resonance. Collaboration isn’t fashionable, but essential.”