Sahara Longe

b. 1994, London. Lives and works in London


Sahara Longe
Sahara Longe, Untitled, 2021. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates



Sahara Longe’s large-scale paintings reference specific styles from art history, drawing upon works from Rubens, John Singer Sargent and Gauguin, among others. Longe trained at Charles H. Cecil Studios in Florence, where she studied classical traditions of oil painting, incorporating centuries old materials and techniques to create her rich and vibrant colour palette. Her paintings are a reimagining of the markedly white Western canons of portraiture, shifted to contain Black figures in contemporary settings. She has expressed her desire to see Black people depicted in paintings, as growing up she never saw representations of herself in museums and galleries.

Often gazing at the viewer or at each other with cryptic expressions, the figures are based on people from Longe’s personal life, both people she loves and those she dislikes. The scenes explore the hidden psychology of social interactions, with Longe frequently depicting atmospheric party scenes.