Windrush: Portraits of a Pioneering Generation

by Royal West of England Academy | Bristol
Date of event: 25/05/24 - 11/08/24

After opening in Edinburgh and touring to London, the exhibition Windrush: Portraits of a Pioneering Generation is coming to Bristol for the first time this summer at the RWA.

This moving exhibition honours the accomplishments and legacy of the Windrush Generation, the name given to the men and women who arrived in Britain on HMT Empire Windrush in June 1948, and the generations who followed. On display are ten portraits of remarkable Caribbean-British individuals by ten leading artists, including Sonia Boyce MBE and Amy Sherald.


The faces and stories of these sitters are a powerful reminder of personal resilience, determination and the positive impact of diversity across Britain. The sitters and artists were selected in 2023 by a panel chaired by Baroness Floella Benjamin DBE and commissioned by His Majesty King Charles III to commemorate the 75th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush's arrival in Britain.

In the foreword to the accompanying book, The King wrote: ‘It is, I believe, crucially important that we should truly see and hear these pioneers.’

The sitters and artists are:

  • Delisser Bernard by artist Honor Titus
  • Alford Gardner by artist Chloe Cox
  • Linda Haye, OBE by artist Shannon Bono 
  • Edna Henry by artist Amy Sherald 
  • Carmen Esme Munroe, OBE by artist Sonia Boyce OBE, RA 
  • Gilda Oliver by artist Clifton Powell 
  • Professor Sir Godfrey (Geoff) Palmer, OBE, CD by artist Derek Fordjour 
  • Laceta Reid by artist Serge Attukwei Clottey 
  • John (Big John) Richards by artist Deanio X 
  • Jessie Stephens, MBE, SLPM by artist Sahara Longe 

Image: © Chloe Cox. Photograph: Royal Collection Trust. Portrait of Alford Gardner, 2023.

This exhibition has been made possible by the kind support of: