Burden of Proof (2022)

Barbara Walker
Burden of Proof 1–8
Graphite and ink on paper
160.6 x 117.6 cm (each)
Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation, with the support of The Whitworth, University of Manchester
Courtesy of the artist and Cristea Roberts Gallery, London


Barbara Walker’s figurative art practice interrogates past and contemporary manifestations of issues at the intersection of racial identity, belonging, class, power and body politics. In Burden of Proof (2022), hand-drawn facsimiles of original documents scavenged from personal and public archives are overlaid with portraits. They reflect upon notions of racism, exclusion and xenophobia as evidenced by the 2018 Windrush scandal, when Caribbean labour immigrants invited to the UK after World War II were later asked to prove their right to remain. A variety of documentary proof evidences the complexities of diasporic identity and the struggle for legitimacy.