Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
The Black Watchful

Gallery 17

About this work of art

Audio description of the work of art

The Black Watchful by British artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. This oil on canvas work is 2m high by 1.5m wide. A woman standing outdoors, next to a seated dog. They are focusing on something out of frame to our left. Around them are lush grasses and shrubs. Between the brush strokes small areas of the white canvas show through.

In the centre of the painting, a dark-skinned woman stands in profile, bathed in light, a short shadow falls on the ground behind her. Her hair is swept up in a high bun, one eyebrow arches; light catches the swell and curve of her nose and cheek bone. She holds her chin level, with closed lips.

She wears a dark green, spaghetti strapped leotard and the golden glow falling on her body turns the fabric a greenish blue. Her collarbone and shoulder, touched by sunlight are accentuated in daubs of burnished red. Her arms are bent at the elbow, both hands in front of her body at waist height, her wrists are bent, and her fingers curled, as if she is holding a cylindrical object. Her legs are bare. She is standing with her feet slightly apart and washed in the sunlight, her right leg is bright orange below the knee.

The two figures are close to one another. The seated dog is as tall as her knees and they stand in a patch of bright emerald green grass, transfixed, looking off to our left. The black dog’s forelegs are obscured in the grass and in the stillness, the dog’s tail is at rest, ending in the shadows between its feet.

Messy grass and shrubs in upwards strokes of khaki, lime and orange, mixed with black and yellow, surround the immediate bright circle of woman and dog. Behind them, taller, shadowy vegetation in dark sage, muted forest green, black and grey.

In the upper left, the artist’s signature in black - ‘Lynette Yiadom-Boakye 2008’.