Lynette Yiadom-Boakye Skylark 2010

  • MoMA, Floor 2, 209 The David Geffen Wing

The artist, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, once said: “I think less about the figures than I do about how they are painted.” Notice the many tints of browns and blacks she brushed onto the canvas to paint this person. What else do you notice?

Although this figure might look like a person from real life, they are someone the artist imagined. Yiadom-Boakye gets her ideas from images she collects from magazines, photos she has taken, and by looking at people around her. She calls this artwork Skylark, which is a type of bird. Can you find where she added feathers?

Kids label from 2023
Additional text

In this painting Yiadom-Boakye poses a figure adorned in what appears to be a feathered garment against a dark brown background, playing with the relationship between darkness and light, as well as visibility and ambiguity. As in all of Yiadom-Boakye’s works, this person is imagined rather than real. Calling attention to the lack of Black subjects represented in art history, the artist creates her fictional portraits as a way of “allowing the paint to bring something to life, or [of] thinking about painting as a language in itself.”

Gallery label from 2023
Oil on canvas
42 7/8 × 27 9/16" (108.9 × 70.1 cm)
Gift of Ninah and Michael Lynne
Object number
Painting and Sculpture

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