Nicola Green is a critically acclaimed social historian and visual artist. Green has established an international reputation for her ambitious projects that can change perceptions about identity and power; exploring themes of race, spirituality, religion, gender, and leadership. Green has gained unprecedented access to iconic figures from the worlds of religion, politics, and culture, including collaborations with Pope Francis, President Obama, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dalai Lama.
Driven by her belief in the power of the visual image to communicate important human stories, Green chooses to assume the role of ‘witness’ to momentous occasions taking place across the globe. Inspired by her own mixed-heritage children and multi-faith family, she creates and preserves religious, social, and cultural heritage for future generations. Recording these events as they happen, and investing many hours of academic and artistic research, Green builds and curates substantial archives.
Education and Awards:
2014 - 2019 Annual Research & Development grant from Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom to fund work and research into ways of bringing important social issues to new audiences.
1998 Edinburgh College of Art, Masters of Fine Arts, First Class Distinction
1997 & 1998 Andrew Grant Bequest Scholarship
1996 Edinburgh College of Art, Bachelor of Arts, First Class Honours in Drawing and Painting 1996 Department for Education Scholarship
2019 Encounters: The Importance of Art in Creating and Preserving a Shared Religious Heritage Keynote speaker, Religious Heritage in a Diverse Europe at University of Groningen
2018 Encountering the Sacred with Neil Macgregor, former Director of the British Museum and Ben Okri, poet, at St Martin-in-the Fields, London
2013 In Conversation with Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks at The Jewish Museum, London
2013 In Seven Days: Art, Election and History panel discussion with Sir David Adjaye and The Honourable Tristram Hunt
at Sir John Soane’s Museum, London
2013 In Seven Days, Imprinting a Moment in History panel discussion with Sarah E Lewis and Matt Frei, at The British
Council, Washington D.C.
Notable Media Appearances:
2018 The Colour Purple BBC Radio 4 Beyond Belief
2018 Encounters BBC Radio 2 Good Morning Sunday
2018 Global with Matthew Amroliwala BBC Worldwide
2018 Power and Political Portraiture BBC Newsnight
2017 Khadija Saye’s Legacy Venice Biennale: Britain’s New Voices BBC 2 2017 Khadija Saye’s Legacy Front Row BBC Radio 4
2017 Venice Biennale: Britain’s New Voices BBC 2 2017 Diaspora Pavilion BBC News
2016 Blue has all kinds of meaning in Judaism BBC Frontline 2013 In Seven Days inside a Historic Campaign BBC Radio 4 2013 Election Project & In Seven Days... Front Row BBC Radio 4 2005 All in the Mind BBC Radio 4
2004 Emotional Rollercoaster BBC Radio 4 2003 Laugh Out Loud BBC Radio 4
2020 In Seven Days... Archive book, The Studio of Nicola Green
2018 Encounters: The Art of Interfaith Dialogue Art & Concept Nicola Green, Edited by Aaron Rosen, Brepols Publishers, Belgium
2018 Encounters Booklet, The Studio of Nicola Green
2017 Diaspora Pavilion Catalogue, The Studio of Nicola Green
2016 The Dance of Colour Catalogue, The Studio of Nicola Green
2013 In Seven Days... Catalogue, The Studio of Nicola Green
2013 ‘A Tribute to Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ Booklet, The Office of Rabbi Sacks
Selected Major works:
Green’s most recent project Encounters is a groundbreaking exhibition of over fifty portraits of the world’s most prominent religious leaders. Encounters is a global story, unique in its depiction of the world’s major religions together for the first time in art history and without hierarchy. Encounters depicts all of the world’s major religions. Sitters include: Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Pope Benedict XVI, Dr Mohammad Ali Shomali, former Grand Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa, emeritus Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji, and Chief Nosakhare Isekhure.
Encounters is a visual exploration of difference: how do people of different beliefs, or none, communicate and reconcile their strongly held and, sometimes, opposing views? How do we think about those we consider wholly ‘other’ to our- selves, and how does this shape our own identity?
Encounters is accompanied by the book Encounters: The Art of Interfaith Dialogue with essays by leading global schol- ars, theologians and art historians.
“This (Encounters: The Art of Interfaith) is a unique contribution to inter-faith dialogue. We know we need to listen to each other, but we also need to learn to see each other. This is at the heart of Nicola Green’s remarkable and visionary practice, and this inspiring book.” Edmund de Waal OBE - Artist, Author, The Hare With Amber Eyes
“Nicola Green is a testament of how artists can bring the best out of humanity, with emphasis here on the importance on inter-faith dialogue splendidly portrayed by her art. In a world plagued by misunderstanding, dialogue is needed more than ever; her work is a wonderful bridge crossing cultural divides.“ Saeb Eigner - Author, Art of the Middle East.
UK Diaspora Pavilion at 57th Venice Biennale 2017
In 2016 Green co-founded the Diaspora Platform, an initiative designed to deliver mentoring and professional develop- ment for emerging artists and curators from racially and culturally diverse backgrounds. Green obtained unprecedent- ed Arts Council funding for the ambitious project. It challenged the under-representation of artists and curators from minority backgrounds in the visual arts and culminated in the critically acclaimed Diaspora Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale 2017. The Diaspora Pavilion was an extraordinary success, gaining widespread UK and global media attention and attracting close to 500,000 visitors. It resulted in the UK and global art world focusing on ethnic diversity in arts.
“This is a pavilion created because artists of complex, multinational backgrounds - and black women artists, especially - find that the doors of high art are closed to them. When those who are marginalised and excluded create space for them- selves in an environment that would otherwise be inhospitable to their persons and their work, the response is bewilder- ment at first, and then resistance.” Al Jazeera
The Dance of Colour 2016
Green explored the meaning of mixed heritage identity and the complex culture of Brazil through the lens of Rio Carnival. The project encompassed two sets of works: Carnival, Beat and Bate Bola. Green mirrors a sense of freedom witnessed during the carnival, where everyday identities are subverted by imaginative temporary personas, and the lines between masculine, feminine, racial, social and sexual identity are blurred. Green carried out extensive research into the history of carnival, the dynamics of race and mixed-heritage in South America and the impact of slavery. Bate Bola was shown at the Diaspora Pavilion in 2017 at the 57th Venice Biennale.
In Seven Days...2010-2013
In 2008, Green gained unprecedented artistic access to Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign. She had a front row seat to historic events, from Obama’s DNC nomination speech in Denver to his inauguration in Washington, D.C. During this unique opportunity Green was behind-the-scenes taking photographs, making sketches, and having conversations with press, staff, citizens, as well as Obama himself. Because she was not focused on the media moment, but the legacy for her children, Green was able to establish a uniquely trusting relationship with Obama and capture personal and intimate moments. Upon her return to the UK, Green spent years researching, distilling and experimenting before completing a series of seven large silkscreen prints titled In Seven Days...
In Seven Days... is an invaluable resource for social history. It illuminates a time in contemporary American history char- acterised by unbridled optimism and the imperative for racial equality in the highest office of the nation. Green created a visual legacy of the Obama candidacy for posterity.
“An artistic and historic masterpiece.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
“The impetus to acquire Nicola Green’s suite of prints, In Seven Days..., reflects both the National Portrait Gallery’s histori- cal commitment to collecting images of the most significant and influential members of American society, but also its ded- ication to building a collection more accurately representative of what it means to be an American, in our current moment and for the future. Adding In Seven Days...to the National Portrait Gallery collection is invaluable to the museum’s ongoing mission to tell the entirety of American history.” The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.
“The work, when I look at it, is not about the 2008 election, it’s really about each individual’s responsibility to history, to the furthering of history, and to looking at how far we’ve come and reflecting on what we had to overcome to arrive at this point, and to think about how much more we have to do to continue carrying on.” Katherine Blood, The Library of Con- gress, Washington D.C.
Portrait of Tottenham 2009
Tottenham, in London, where Green lives and works, is one of the most multicultural areas in the world. Green worked with her local community to create a Portrait of Tottenham. This project was a continuation of Green’s commitment to providing mentoring and social outreach programmes. Portrait of Tottenham was inspired by Green’s extensive research on the 270 different languages spoken within this unique London borough. Her aim was to directly reflect the area’s identity, diversity and difference in a meaningful way for its inhabitants and for the wider world.
House Slave - Field Slave 2007
House Slave - Field Slave was made in collaboration with Anti-Slavery International to commemorate the anniversary of the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in the British Empire in 1807. This work explores the concept of contem- porary slavery and the stories of the 12 million people still enslaved around the world in the 21st Century. The works were first exhibited at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London in 2007, and were then shown as part of Black History Month and Prince’s Drawing Clubs at Bruce Castle Museum, London, in 2010. Green’s works were accompanied by preparatory studies, as well as artefacts of contemporary slavery from the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool and extraor- dinary photos and text from Anti-Slavery International, which inspired this work. The triptych is now in the permanent collection at the International Slavery Museum, Liverpool.
Notable Public Collections:
The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC
The Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
International Slavery Museum, Liverpool
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
Glenhurst Gallery of Brant, Canada
Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh
Sir John Soane’s Museum, London
Jewish Museum, London
Paintings in Hospitals, UK
Bruce Castle Museum, London
Royal National College for the Blind, Hereford
Edinburgh College of Art
Anti-Slavery International, London
BBC Radio 4 Sound Archive, London
Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2019 Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, Oxford 2018 St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London
2017 Candida Stevens Gallery, Chichester, Sussex
2016 Flowers Gallery, London
2015 Jealous Gallery, London
2014 Jewish Museum, London
2013 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
2013 Soane Museum, London
2013 Australia House, London
2013 Flowers Gallery, London
2012 Stadium Suite, Cultural Olympiad, Olympic Park, London 2011 Library of Congress, Washington DC
2010 Harvard University, Boston 2010 Bruce Castle Museum, London 2007 Dulwich Picture Gallery, London 2005 Vinyl Factory, London
2018 Grayson Perry’s Room of Fun Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London 2018 London Art Fair Islington Design Centre, London
2017 The Diaspora Pavilion 57th Venice Biennale, Venice
2017 Good Nature Candida Stevens Gallery, Sussex
2016 Icon Candida Stevens Gallery, Chichester, Sussex
2015 Small Is Beautiful Flowers Gallery, London
2015 Good Figures Mall Galleries, London
2015 Good Figures The Downland Jerwood Gridshell Museum, Sussex 2014 Small is Beautiful Flowers Gallery, New York
2014 The Discerning Eye Mall Galleries, London
2014 Local Reflections: Nelson Mandela and the Haringey Anti-Apartheid Movement Bruce Castle, London
2013 London Art Fair, Business Design Centre, London 2013 Art, Election and History Flowers, London
2013 Recent Prints Flowers, London
2013 Small is Beautiful Flowers, London
2013 Multiplied Christie’s, London
2013 Pulse Contemporary Art Fair New York
2013 The London Print Fair Royal Academy, London
2012 BlindArt Moorfield Hospital, London
2012 Cultural Olympiad Haringey, London
2012 Pellafort Press, London
2011 BlindArt Banbury Museum, Banbury
2010 Inspired by Soane The Soane Museum, London
2010 Touching Art Touching You Hove Museum & Art Gallery, Brighton
2010 East Wing Collection The Courtauld Institute, London
2009 Permanent Collection Royal College for the Blind, Hereford
2008 BlindArt Museum of Modern Art, Wales
2008 BP Portrait Award exhibited at: National Portrait Gallery, London; Wolverhampton Art Gallery; Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museum; Aberystwyth Arts Centre
2008 A Sense of Space: The Blind Culture exhibited at: McIntosh Gallery, Western University, Ontario; Glenhurst Gallery of Brant, Canada
2008 Touching Art Touching You Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro
2008 On Time The Courtauld Institute, London
2007 Permanent Collection Ontario Glenhyrst Gallery of Brant, Canada
2007 Boundless Menier Chocolate Gallery and Southwark Council, London
2006 BP Portrait Award exhibited at: National Portrait Gallery, London; Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museum; Royal West of England Academy, Bristol
2006 Blind Art USA exhibited at: National Public Library for the Blind, New York; British Embassy, Washington D.C. 2006 Shoes - The Agony & Ecstasy exhibited at: Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead; Norwich Castle Museum; Cartwright Hall
Art Gallery, Bradford; Tully House Museum, Carlisle
2005 Portraits 2005 Arndean Gallery, London
2005 BlindArt Royal College of Arts, London
2004 New Sound New York, The Kitchen Venue, New York 2004 Winchester Festival of Art & the Mind, Winchester; 2004 Retrospective 291 Gallery, London
2003 A Laughing Portrait exhibited at: Cork Arts Festival, Ireland; Port Eliot Literary Festival Cornwall; Royal Brompton Hospital, London; Your Shout Awards Winchester
2018 - Present Founder and Director Khadija Saye IntoArts Programme 2014 - 2017 Founder and Director UK Diaspora Pavilion
2014 - 2016 Royal Academy Benjamin West Group, Board Member 2014 ING Discerning Eye Exhibition, Judge
2008 - 2014 Prince’s Drawing Schools, Patron
2006 - 2014 Paintings in Hospitals, Trustee
2002 - 2006 Edinburgh College of Arts Alumni Council, Board Member
Mentoring & Workshops:
For 20 years Green has been mentoring and supporting young people from non-traditional backgrounds, and children with learning difficulties and Special Educational Needs.
1998 - Present Tutor with Osborne Cawkwell teaching young people excluded from mainstream education and/or with Learning Difficulties or Special Educational Needs wanting to pursue the arts. Tutoring GCSE art, A-Level art and Foundation/Art College entrance with a hundred per cent success rate for exams and admissions, running sessions and workshops from her studio as well as at Greater London Schools.
2000 - Present Mentoring young people of all levels and career stages in Tottenham working with: Elena Pippou, cultural officer at Haringey Libraries and in collaboration with Haringey secondary schools; partnership with Stamford Hill Primary school and the Cultural Olympiad; Bruce Castle Museum in collaboration with Haringey primary and secondary schools.
Green has worked with children across the UK and USA as a leader of identity and art workshops with students from local schools working in collaboration with institutions including: Dulwich Picture Gallery; International Slavery Museum, Liverpool; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Anti-Slavery International; Prince’s Drawing Schools; Sir John Soane’s Museum, London; Harvard University, Boston; Library of Congress, Washington DC.
2003 - Present Green has mentored many aspiring artists in her studio, not only teaching practical skills, but also the tools necessary for a successful career in the arts. This culminated in the professional mentoring programmes of the Diaspora Platform the 2015 Venice Biennale and with Arts Council England at 2017 Venice Biennale.
Green mentored the late Khadija Saye who tragically died in the Grenfell Tower fire. Nicola had mentored Khadija for three years from 2014, during which time Khadija worked as an assistant in Green’s studio. Green co-curated the two exhibitions in which she exhibited - Discerning Eye 2014 and Diaspora Pavilion 2017. Nicola established The Khadija Saye IntoArts Programme, encouraging young people into Higher Education at IntoUniversity centres across the UK.
2012 Olympic Workshops Because the London Olympic bid was won chiefly on the story of multicultural London, Green initiated workshops with underprivileged racially diverse children in North and East London. Students explored what their sporting and football heroes meant to them and how excelling in sport could motivate them.
Over her career, Green has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of art to charities including: 2015 & 2017 The Human Rights Watch Annual Auction
2017 Grassroots Soccer, Worlds AIDS Day Gala 2016 Face Value, Katie Piper Foundation
2015 Paintings in Hospitals Auction
2014 Labour Fundraising Auction
2013 Barbican Art Gallery
2010 BlindArt, Permanent Collection
23/09/2018 Faith: how talks between the Dalai Lama and the archbishop of Canterbury inspired artist Nicola Green’s new exhibition Stephen Armstrong, The Sunday Times
22/09/2018 An Artist Creates Faceless Portraits of Dalai Lama and Others Tibetan Journal
20/09/2018 Rabbi Lord Sacks ‘honoured’ to be featured in art exhibition with faith leaders Jewish News 19/09/2018 Faces of Faith Joanna Moorhead, The Catholic Tablet
17/09/2018 Artist says faceless portraits of faith leaders is a comment on celebrity status Press Association
25/02/2018 Stations of the Cross Victoria Emily Jones, Art & Theology
05/02/2018 The Diaspora pavilion—a hit at last year’s Venice Biennale—is reborn in Wolverhampton Gareth Harris, The Art Newspaper
21/05/2017 Art review: Venice Biennale Waldemar Januszczak, The Times
20/05/2017 Black Presences at the Venice Biennale M Neelika Jayawardane, Al Jazeera
16/05/2017 Around Town: Venice Matthew Mclean, Frieze
12/05/2018 The Weight of History in Venice Helmi Yusof, Business Times
09/05/2017 A Series of Rogue Pavilions Wrestles with the Venice Biennale’s National Structure Hettie Judah, ArtNet
03/05/2017 Hans Ulrich Obrist’s Venice Sotheby’s
24/05/2016 Artist Nicola Green on painting Obama, Elle Macpherson and her new exhibition The Dance of Colour Pippa Cerar, Evening Standard
22/05/2016 How it feels to...dance at Rio Carnival The Sunday Times
20/11/2015 Nicola Green: A Selection of Work Wall Street International
15/02/2013 Hope, Change and Struggle: An Artist’s View of the 2008 Presidential Campaign Time Magazine 15/02/2013 And on the seventh day. . . Simon Jenkins, The Church Times
17/01/2013 Barack Obama exhibition offers ‘deconstruction of hope’ Mark Brown, The Guardian 29/12/2013 How we met: Nicola Green & Elle Macpherson Adam Jacques, The Independent
08/11/2012 Obama Art: Our Favorite Portraits Of The President The Huffington Post
29/04/2012 Emotional ties with writer and director Hannah Rothschild Clare Geraghty, Mail on Sunday 28/09/2011 Library Receives Gift of Artwork by Nicola Green The Library of Congress
16/11/2010 Democracy Goes Green Vivian W. Leung, The Harvard Crimson
02/11/2010 Campaign trailer Laura Collins-Hughes, The Boston Globe
”It is my hope that Nicola’s artwork will spawn a sense of great hope in its onlookers, and serve as a reminder of all that is possible when we presume the inherent goodness in one another and work in common effort.”
Barack Obama - President of the United States of America
“I would like to commend Nicola Green on her initiatives to promote religious harmony. Like her, I, too, believe that today’s leaders of various religious traditions are becoming more aware of the need for peaceful co-existence. I am confident that with more religious leaders actively involved in promoting religious harmony, we can all help in making this world a better place for everyone.”
H.H. The Dalai Lama
“Green’s work cannot be confined by a category or as a cliché but lived as a working philosophy.”
David A. Bailey MBE
“Nicola Green has created a concept and series of artworks of major historical significance. This book is an invaluable visual record of interfaith dialogue for future generations.”
Tristram Hunt -Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum
“Nicola Green has an unusually full and varied experience of reflecting through her art on people who are associated with power of one kind or another, having shadowed Barack Obama on the election trail and produced a powerful set of images that open up the viewer’s reflection on his extraordinary profile and career.”
Rowan Williams - Former Archbishop of Canterbury