Self Portrait 2015

Michael Forbes lives and works in Nottingham and London.

He has recently completed a MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art and has a BA (Hons) Photography from Nottingham Trent University. His practice spans sculpture, photography and painting.

Forbes’ practice explores contemporary racial politics and migration, which are informed by contemporary debates on race, class, wealth, history, religion and his personal experience - by using sculpture, photography and installations. He navigates between the different media and subjects; thereby creating a strong visual aesthetics, which illustrates his interest in a range of sociopolitical discourse.


Forbes presents six bodies of intersecting work, which communicate well together, but also stand-alone as separate works.


His work has been exhibited internationally over the last 20 years, with recent exhibitions include Reformation at Guest Projects and the Diaspora Pavilion at the last Venice Biennale, Italy, a 22 month long project led by The International Curators Forum (ICF), in partnership with the University of the Arts, London (UAL).


In 2011, he undertook a 12 month residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York which has led to several exhibitions – CPT:Time, History and Memory at the Gallatin Galleries, New York; Metropolitan Wonderland at the International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York and Next Generation: Contemporary American Photography at Pasinger Fabrik Amerika Haus, Munich.


Alongside his artistic practice work, he has an interest in curating, contributing to artist’s professional development and architecture. After graduating from Nottingham Trent University, he became the Visual Arts Officer for East Midlands African Caribbean Arts (EMACA). He has curated many exhibitions including work at the Bonington Gallery, Primary and Yard Gallery in Nottingham. He played a leading role in developing the New Art Exchange and its early programmes where he curated 8 major exhibitions.


He is a founding member and currently the Chair of the trustees of Primary, Nottingham, where he holds a studio.

Primary is an artist-led space that exists to support creative research and to develop new ways of engaging audiences. Offering dedicated artists studios alongside more flexible spaces, both within and outside the building, where artists from around the world can meet and work in the heart of Nottingham. Primary is a place where artists and the public can share, experiment and learn about contemporary visual art through an ambitious programme of events and activities.

New Art Exchange (NAE) is a contemporary arts space in Nottingham that celebrates the region's cultural richness and diversity. It is the largest gallery in the UK dedicated to culturally diverse contemporary visual arts. The venue presents an ever-changing programme of art exhibitions, creative activities for families and young people, film screenings, symposiums, lectures, festivals and a live performance programme of music, dance and theatre.

Primary PS1 - work Debra Swan 2016

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New Art Exchnage 2008



Tel: +44 (0)7941350002

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Images & Text © 2020 Michael Forbes - All rights reserved.