38 per cent of Black creatives see their white peers progressing faster, says report

The International Body of Art (IBA) is researching the disparity between the demand for Black art and the experience of Black artists when it comes pay and progress.

12 October 2023

New research reveals that over a third of Black creatives have watched their white peers’ careers progress “further and faster” than theirs. It has been carried out by the International Body of Art, an art institution which works to platform emerging and underrepresented artists.

The upcoming report also shows that 26 per cent of Black creatives have had to stop pursuing art careers due to limited financial backing.

In a release, IBA says “Black creatives are still striving for parity in key areas such as pay and representation”, despite the fact that demand for artworks, exhibitions and films from Black artists appears to have increased in recent years – we recently spoke to a range of creatives on the state of the creative industry amidst this renaissance.

Still, other reports have highlighted the instability of this influx of demand. In 2022, Artnet published the Burns Halperin Report. It showed that money spent at auction on work by Black American artists was up almost 400 per cent from 2008 to 2021, but “their share of the market dropped from four percent in 2021 to three percent by midway through 2022”. The report also says this demand was concentrated on a handful of artists. Reports in children’s book publishing have even shown a decrease in diversity since the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.

CEO of the International Body of Art, Maria Artool, says: “Too often, the art world’s embrace of marginalised artists comes in the form of token gestures. [...] The time has come to redefine the narrative and trade tokenism for true resonance. Collaboration isn’t fashionable, but essential.”

One way in which the IBA is working to achieve this goal is through its exhibitions, which provide a “cost-effective” way for emerging artists to gain traction, it says.

The IBA’s report was carried out with a nationally representative sample of 2,090 adults, in accordance with the British Polling Council.

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Joseph Palframan: Landscape of Historical Delfshaven Rotterdam on display at Brutus, Keileweg (Copyright © Joseph Palframan, 2023)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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