A new painting of Queen Victoria’s goddaughter, Sarah Forbes Bonetta, by artist Hannah Uzor has been unveiled by English Heritage at Osborne, the Queen’s seaside home on the Isle of Wight. Hannah is a HND Fine Art student at Morley’s Chelsea Centre for the Creative Industries.
The remarkable life of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, who was born into a West African royal family in 1843, is being highlighted by curators at English Heritage as part of a project commissioning and displaying paintings celebrating Black figures in history whose stories have previously been overlooked.
“Through my art, I’m interested in exploring those forgotten Black people in British history, people such as Sarah,’ Hannah Uzor said, speaking to English Heritage. “What I find interesting about Sarah is that she challenges our assumptions about the status of Black women in Victorian Britain. I was also drawn to her because of the parallels with my own family and my children, who share Sarah’s Nigerian heritage. To see Sarah return to Osborne, her godmother’s home, is very satisfying and I hope my portrait will mean more people discover her story.”
Matias Shortcook, Centre Principal at the Chelsea Centre for the Creative Industries, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for Hannah and we are thrilled to see her work get the recognition it deserves. The Chelsea Centre supports individuals to establish their own creative journey and use their work to challenge and question the world we live in and I welcome English Heritage’s recognition of this important issue”
You can find out more about the HND in Fine Art at the Chelsea Centre here.
Images courtesy of English Heritage.