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Sentinel (Green) (2021)

© Phoebe Boswell. Courtesy the artist and Cristea Roberts.



Drawing and Watercolour


Graphite, Pastel, Indian ink, Watercolour, Paper


58 x 42 cm


Presented by the Contemporary Art Society with support from The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds, 2022/23

Ownership history:

Purchased from the Cristea Roberts Gallery, London by the Contemporary Art Society, with support from The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds, 23 January 2023; presented to The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds, 2022/23


Black (presence)
Phoebe Boswell’s practice is anchored in drawing but also includes animation, sound, video, writing, installation and, more recently, painting. Her, mainly figurative, work is concerned with diaspora and migration, bodies and protest, as well as climate change and capitalism, and explores how these themes interconnect across time.

The series Future Ancestors: Sentinels (2021), to which Sentinel (Green) belongs, portrays fishermen whom the artist encountered on the beach near her family home in Zanzibar, Tanzania. These men’s generational relationship with the sea is being challenged through a combination of climate change, tourism and overfishing. Boswell reimagines and honours these men as ‘future ancestors’ in search of a ‘new place’ – beyond the history of Zanzibar as a slave port and the current climate crisis. As she explains, the series is ‘a call to remember and also a call to arms. We need to know how resilient and adaptive we are in order for our imaginations to begin to envision a new place.’

Boswell’s practice resonates with issues of migration, climate change and sustainability that have become crucial for the University of Leeds Art Collection and the temporary exhibitions programme in recent years. Her work also contributes to the gallery’s longstanding collection of drawings, to aid the teaching of technique to university students. Finally, as a centre for feminist art history, The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery is happy to receive work by an artist whose wider practice regularly engages with Black feminism. 

All rights reserved. Any further use will need to be cleared with the rights holder. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial copying, hiring, lending is prohibited. The collection that owns this artwork may have more information on their own website about permitted uses and image licensing options.

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