Plan Your Visit

Our Stories: Reflecting on Black British History by Liz Johnson Artur

Hear artist Liz Johnson Artur reflect on her approach and portrayal of south London’s black communities, and talk about Top Shelf, a photographic piece she created for the Gallery in 2018. Top Shelf was the first acquisition under the new Collections Development Policy and set a course for the Gallery’s exciting future. It also represented a historic moment for the Gallery as Johnson Artur is the first woman artist of dual heritage represented in the collection and the Gallery the first public collection in the UK to acquire her work.

Top Shelf by Liz Johnson Artur

View the short film below of photographer Liz Johnson Artur discussing her photography piece Top Shelf, which is now on display in the Undercroft at Guildhall Art Gallery.

Date submitted: 15/02/23

About the artist

Liz Johnson Artur, born in 1964, Bulgaria, lives and works in London. Recent solo-exhibitions include Brooklyn Museum, New York (2019), David Nolan Gallery, New York (2018) and Lothringer 13 Halle, Munich (2016). Recent group exhibitions include Serpentine Gallery, London (2019), 10 Berlin Biennial, Berlin (2018) and Kunstverein Leipzig (2016). Her first UK solo show will be at South London Gallery, 14 June – 1 September 2019. Her monograph with Bierke Verlag was included in the 'Best Photo Books 2016' list of the New York Times.

Learning Resources

As part of Black History Month 2020, our Learning Team and Culture Mile have developed resources for secondary school teachers, designed for Key Stage 3, though they can also be used outside of the classroom. Teaching prompts and thought-provoking discussion questions are provided to inspire creative lesson planning.

Use the following links to download the PDFs.

Top Shelf by Liz Johnson Artur PDF (120KB)

Liz Johnson Artur film discussion questions PDF (30KB)

The video and resources were produced in partnership with Culture Mile Learning, as part of a project titled Our Stories: Reflecting on Black British History in Four Objects. This programme of activities and digital content, support secondary school teachers to incorporate Black British history, arts, and culture into the curriculum.

Take a look at our other learning resources on Black British history for secondary school teachers, and a resource for families.

Related Links

Image Licensing
Access City of London's Guildhall Art Gallery online and find out what to do to reproduce one of our images, copyright and requesting a viewing.
Collections History
Access collections history to learn about collections bequeathed to the City of London's Guildhall Art Gallery.
Permanent Galleries
The Gallery's collection of London paintings opens a window onto unusual, memorable and colourful scenes from the city's history.
Explore our collections online
Visitors can now explore the Guildhall Art Gallery's collections online from a range of different platforms.