feature: london-based visual artist heather agyepong’s photographic series ‘too many blackamoors’

February 4, 2016

Too Many Blackamoors’ is photographic series by London-based visual artist and photographer Heather Agyepong. The thematic series is based on a 1596 event in which Queen Elizabeth penned an open letter to the lord mayor of London, demanding the forceable removal of the “blackamoors”, or dark skinned black Africans, explaining that there were simply too many already in England. No more vacancies. Very present-day GOP. Agyepong drew inspiration for this project from a 19th-century Carte-de-visite of Lady Sarah Forbes Bonetta—the West African adopted goddaughter of Queen Victoria—who was brought to England as a child. Agyepong also used her own experiences as black woman in Europe. “The images are based on my own personal experiences as a young black woman, dealing with the macro and micro traumas of racism encountered while traveling around European countries[…]‘Too Many Blackamoors’ aims to challenge the “strong, independent, black female” narrative that can burden and often entrap black women.” Agyepong writes.

By Erin White*, AFROPUNK contributor

The project was commissioned by Autograph ABP for The Missing Chapter supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Special thanks to Angela Dennis for her guidance during the project.

*Erin White is AFROPUNK’s editorial and social media assistant. You can follow her on Tumblr or friend her on Facebook. Have a pitch or an inquiry? Shoot her an email at