Robert Peterson
(Miami, FL, USA, 1981)

We’re Gonna Be Kings, 2021

Oil on panel
101,6 x 101,6 cm
[Photo: Ela Bialkowska, OKNO Studio, © ADAGP, Paris. Courtesy Pascale Marthine Tayou and GALLERIA CONTINUA, by SIAE 2021]

Peterson paints portraits of Black people with the goal of giving them new light. Reconsidering and challenging the ways they have often been perceived, the artist strives to establish a dialogue between his works and the viewer so that the viewer understand how beautiful, powerful, and worthy Black people are and have always been.

Peterson’s paintings depict Black people as ordinary and, at the same time, regal: see the title of the work We’re Gonna Be Kings (2021), and the proud expression of the two male figures depicted there. His works are homages to the heroism of daily life and challenge the politicized gaze upon Black people. The various shades with which their skin is painted express the artist’s love for and pride in black skin.

Robert Peterson lives and works in Lawton, Oklahoma. He picked up a paintbrush for the first time in July of 2012 and his debut art show was in NYC in March of 2013. His portraits are now collected by several art collectors and celebrities, including Alicia Keys. Named the 2016 “Artist of the Year for Southwestern Oklahoma” by the Oklahoma Arts Council, Peterson made history by becoming the first African American to hold that title in the history of Oklahoma. In December of 2017 during the Art basel Week Miami Robert earned the Spectrum Spotlight Artist of the Year.