Barbara Walker RA Elect (b. 1964)

Barbara Walker was born in Birmingham, England, in 1964. She studied at the University of Central England, Birmingham, and completed post-graduate studies at Wolverhampton University. She lives and works in Birmingham. Her work is informed by the social, political and cultural realities that affect her life and the lives of those around her. Growing up in Birmingham, her experiences have directly shaped a practice concerned with issues of class and power, gender, race, representation and belonging. Her figurative drawings and paintings tell contemporary stories hinged on historical circumstances, making them universally understood and reflecting a human perspective on the state of affairs in her native Britain and elsewhere.

Walker was the 2020 Bridget Riley Fellow at the British School at Rome. In 2019 she was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours for services to British Art and in 2017 she exhibited at the 57th Venice Biennale as part of the Diaspora Pavilion. In 2017 she received the Drawing Room Bursary Award and inaugural Evelyn Williams Drawing Award in association with the Jerwood Charitable Foundation. She has previously been an artist in residence at Facebook’s headquarters in London.

Walker’s recent solo exhibitions include Vanishing Point, Cristea Roberts Gallery (2022), Place Space Who (2019) at Turner Contemporary; Vanishing Point at Jerwood Gallery (2018), Shock and Awe at Midlands Arts Centre (2016). Her works have been included in significant group exhibitions in the UK and internationally including: Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present (2023) Life Between Islands, Caribbean - British Art, 50s to Now, Tate Britain (2021), Lahore Biennale: Between the Sun and the Moon (2020), Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts (2019), Protest and Remembrance, Alan Cristea Gallery (2019), Zeichen, MEWO Kunsthalle, Memmingen (2018), A Slice Through the World: Contemporary Artists’ Drawings, Modern Art Oxford (2018) and The Gallery of Small Things, Dakar Biennale, Senegal (2018).


Royal Academician


Born: 1964 in Birmingham

Elected RA: 13 December 2022

Gender: Female