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Fly, funky and fearless: meet the Black Romantics

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London is seeing the rise of a new wave of young black creatives, from style queen Swanzy to painter Barka and performance poet Belinda Zhawi. Is this the future of Afropolitanism?

The women in Barka’s paintings have full lips. The men have broad noses. But although their skin is always shaded grey, the imagery is unapologetically black. No one in Barka’s portraits returns your gaze because, he says, they are, “funky, fly and don’t give a fuck”. The artist dubbed his series Black Romantics, but the label has come to mean something bigger: a new wave of young black artists committed to painting, filming and saluting the style of black Britons.

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