As part of their ongoing diversity programme, Pinsent Mason*, a large international law firm, asked me to create an exhibition of portraits drawn from my portfolio of successful black people:
Portraits of Achievement – a selection of portraits created between 2000 – 2014, celebrating the achievements of people of African and Caribbean descent.
The portraits are displayed with extended captions listing some the key achievements of each of the subjects’
To see the texts and the portraits click here Robert Taylor Black History Month Exhibition (pdf)
In 2001 Jacqui Macdonald, the then Head of Staff and Organisational Development at London University’s Institute of Education conducted a study that challenged stereotypes of black underachievement by telling the stories of 72 black men and women who have risen to the top in contemporary Britain. The study was published as a book called Portraits of Black Achievement: Composing Successful Careers (Published by Lifetime Careers). It was centred on a series of interviews with black professionals in fields including politics, medicine, law, education and the arts. The interviewees described their life experiences and talked about what it meant to be a successful black professional. Each interview was accompanied by a photo portrait by Robert Taylor.
I’ve been creating collections of portraits for over 25 years. Recent commissions include an extended collection of women celebrated for their excellence in the fields of science, engineering and technology, and most recently, two large collections for an Oxford University college. 14 of the 28 portraits in the Pinsent Mason display are drawn from Jacqui Macdonald’s project, the remainder are from a variety of commissions between 2002 and 2014.