Drawing of Former British Labour Party Politician, Bernie Grant.
A true champion for social and racial justice, and pioneer for equality and diversity. It was my greatest honour to draw this man, Bernie Grant.
This drawing has permanently joined the Parliamentary Art Collection and the first ever pencil portrait commissioned by the House of Commons.
When I was asked to draw Bernie Grant I was given access to a plethora of material at The Bernie Grant Archive at Bishopsgate Institution in London. Over 500 hours I spent studying every image and video of Bernie Grant I got my hands on. The primary photograph I drew reference from was taken of Bernie Grant at the State Opening of Parliament – the year he got elected as the MP for Tottenham, London. He wore a Ghanaian hand-woven dashiki as a stand for his community, being one of first black Members of Parliament. It made all the sense for me to use this photograph to draw from – I saw pride and dignity in it and I hoped to capture the soul in his benign expression.
Over 180 hours of pencil to paper it took to complete my drawing of Bernie Grant.