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Images & Text © 2017 Michael Forbes - All rights reserved.

Facing Black (White Privilege Manifesto) 2018
Photograph on MDF with neon text mounted on the front - size 2.50m x 1.50m 
Photograph on MDF with neon text mounted on the front - size 2.50m x 1.50m 
Lightbox - minimum size 1.50m x 1.00m - size varies 
Photograph on MDF with neon text mounted on the front - size 2.50m x 1.50m 
Photograph on MDF with neon text mounted on the front - size 2.50m x 1.50m 
Lightbox - minimum size 1.50m x 1.00m - size varies 
Photograph on MDF with neon text mounted on the front - size 2.50m x 1.50m 
Lightbox - minimum size 1.50m x 1.00m - size varies 
Photograph on MDF with neon text mounted on the front - size 2.50m x 1.50m 
Lightbox - minimum size 1.50m x 1.00m - size varies 

Facing Black (White Privilege Manifesto)

Facing Black started in 2011 with Forbes returning to the ‘Old Masters’ by exploring a pictorial view on the world history of trade and culture, which generated a conversation around its legacy and impact. By documenting paintings in museums such as The Sampling Officials by Rembrandt (1662) in Amsterdam, and others in Munich, Berlin, New York, and London, the work challenges notions of cultural past and questions the intersection of African and European history.

The work has evolved over a number of years, Facing Black (White Privilege Manifesto) now explores and challenges the visual cues of the fashion industry along-side other sectors of society, portrayed through predominantly Euro centric notions and representations of beauty.

Forbes uses text layers to explore the extremities of racial politics and discrimination in relation to white privilege. With abstract text, Forbes creates a form of push me pull me schematic, thereby the viewer is drawn in by the beauty of the photographic image of the shop window, but part repelled by the challenging text. The work allows the viewer to question their own positionality in relation to this critique of the fashion industry. The layering is used as an aesthetic tool and more strikingly the text is a genuine link to racial political discourse of today.

Forbes has been developing and documenting high end shop windows for the last two years in a number of major cities, including Venice, Rome, Naples and London.


As, this is ‘Work In Progress’, Forbes intends to produce large-scale photographs / lightboxes with LED or neon text and black dots made from circular tapestries frames with black fabric or rubber protruding down the front of the image.

Photograph on MDF with neon text mounted on the front - size 2.50m x 1.50m 
Facing Black installation at the Diaspora Pavilion Venice 2017