UNDEREXPOSED ARTS is a cultural and arts organization dedicated to equality, diversity and inclusion. We are agents of change, celebrating culturally diverse talent by collaborating with artists to create exhibitions, films, talks, education programs and workshops that inspire and facilitate creativity and critical thinking, in empowering a diverse audience of young people to explore notions of self-identity, positive representation and creative self-expression.
Original site of the Peckham Portraits, London

UNDEREXPOSED ARTS was founded in 2008 by actor Fraser James and visual artist Franklyn Rodgers, to address the perceived lack of positive black role models in UK contemporary society.

UA’s artistic intervention launched in 2008 at the National Portrait Gallery, as a three-screen LCD installation featuring 30 portraits of actors from the black British diaspora. Each portrait grounded by ‘Gems Of Knowledge’, inspirational words of wisdom offered by each actor.

National Portrait Gallery Exhibition

Peckham Portraits

Following the launch, the portraits were shown on Transport for London Tube sites and installed on hoardings in Peckham, London, remaining in place until 2017, becoming one of the UK’s longest-running photographic site-specific public art exhibitions. They were treasured by the local community and became affectionately known as ‘The Peckham Portraits’.
Portraits displayed on hoardings by Peckham library. Southwark
The now iconic portraits still remain immersed in the Peckham community where in 2019 on the original site, a selection of portraits were reinstated and can be seen on the large exterior windows at MOUNTVIEW Academy of Theatre Arts and Peckhamplex cinema, London.
Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Peckham, London
Re-launch of the Peckham Portraits at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts
The success of this first iteration of portraits led to establish learning programmes for young people on acting, writing and photography at the National Portrait Gallery, Royal Court and Young Vic theatres in London.

‘The Next Gen’ and second iteration builds on the legacy of the work with a collection of unique and impactful portraits. 

The work celebrates the eclectic and dynamic range of those whose talent and skills contribute to positive notions of activism around cultural identity, representation and the ability to affect change. Continuing the theme and impact of the ‘Gems of Knowledge’ inspiring a new generation.

Along with this new series of portraits, Underexposed Arts continues its work within education. Bringing inspiration directly to the heart of schools, colleges and community hubs through educational programmes, which exist to help young people generate ideas, apply their knowledge to new circumstances and give them the courage to expand the capacity of their full potential. 

We also work with corporate partners to explore and expand how ‘diversity’ and positive role models can be seen as a value.

It is about how the idea of legacy in content, process, placement and propagation, provides a platform for the generation that follows.
“One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is themselves. Not only through the equity in the sharing of your truth, but moreover in the support and discovery of their own. At UNDEREXPOSED ARTS, we echo this recognition by empowering transportation to transformation through to transcendence, a journey that speaks to the autonomy of the individual in connecting to a wider social inclusion”. FR
UA continues to build on the idea of legacy, working with support from a growing community of partners. UA recently held exhibitions at W1 Curates, Oxford Street, London, Amazon Headquarters, London, Pearl and Dean cinema and Clear Channel at sites across the UK, expanding the reach for people to connect to the work and to find inspiration.

Izzy Bizu