Maud Sulter (1960-2008)
Maud Sulter was a contemporary photographer and writer whose works primarily focused on the representation of Black women, both historically and throughout the media. As such, her photographs, mainly portraits, act as a way of depicting the history and reality of the Black Diaspora in Europe.
Born on the 19th of September 1960 to a Ghanaian father and Scottish mother, Maud received her Master’s degree from the University of Derby. She began to work as a writer, publishing numerous poems and plays in which she continuously explored her Ghanaian heritage, including one poem titled As a Black Woman (1985), for which she won the Vera Bell Prize for poetry.
Maud’s participation in the 1986 exhibition The Thin Black Line at the ICA in London (curated by Lubaina Himid) and her 1987 series Sphinx – a photo essay of the history of slavery in St. James’ Island, which was exhibited at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery– propelled her into the limelight.
She began to work alongside artist and curator Lubaina Himid, with whom she worked for many years. Her photographs came to portray Black women as mythical and historical subjects and focused on the presence of Black women in Britain. Maud was also Principal Lecturer in Fine Arts at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Maud won many awards and recognitions during her lifetime. She won the British Telecom New Contemporaries Award, the Momart Fellowship at Tate Liverpool and was nominated for the European Photography awards in 1991. She exhibited works at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Tate Britain. Her work is permanently collected by the British Council, the Arts Council Collection, and the Scottish Arts Council. Her writings are available at the Scottish Poetry Library and the Glasgow Women’s Library, among others.
Maud passed away in 2008 after a long illness.