Khari Turner - Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon Charity Auction London Monday, March 15, 2021 | Phillips
  • Description

    Condition reports, Lot descriptions and information in respect of Lots included in this Online-Only Auction have been prepared exclusively by Whitechapel Gallery following Whitechapel Gallery’s assessment of the Lots. Phillips and its staff are not responsible in any way for such statements, representations or opinions or for any other information provided in respect of the Lots, whether by Whitechapel Gallery, on Phillips website or in any other form.

  • Provenance

    Donation courtesy of the artist and Ross-Sutton Gallery

  • Catalogue Essay

    “My work right now is a diary of struggle and overcoming struggle. I’m exploring the history of black defeat, black revolutions, and black accomplishments coalescing through mark making, realism, and expressionism.” Khari Turner

    Moonlit King is exemplary of Khari Turner’s paintings, which primarily focus on portraits of black figures with exaggerated features and accessories. Here a black figure is viewed from below, identifiable only through his nose, lips and embellished hands. As a typical in Turner’s work, an interest mark-making and representation is combined with strong socio-political concern – the artist aims to highlight a duality of the black experience. Staged confidently and powerfully, the figure in Moonlit King celebrates the black body, while Turner also acutely highlights various facial and bodily features that have been negatively stereotyped and devalued. Turner notes “that people with wider noses, thicker lips, and darker skin statistically getting longer prison sentences in the US.” (

    Moonlit King materially and conceptually suggests that the figure is a product of his environment. Turner mixed his paints with sand, as well as water collected from sites with a “historical or personal connection to black history”, including the Milwaukee River, Lake Michigan and the Southern Manhattan Harbour.

    Khari Turner (b. 1991) is an American artist living and working in New York, New York. A recent graduate from Austin Peay State University with his BFA, he is currently an MFA graduate candidate at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Turner has been featured in numerous exhibitions in the United States, including at Say it Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud), curated by Destinee Ross-Sutton at Christie’s, New York (2020), Art of Our Century, New York (2020), Red Arrow Gallery, Nashville (2020), BLACK VOICES: Friend of My Mind, Ross-Sutton Gallery, New York (2020-21).


Moonlit King

signed, inscribed and dated 'Khari Turner Spring 2021' on the reverse
acrylic, oil, charcoal, sand, ocean water, Milwaukee river water, Lake Michigan water, water from southern Manhattan harbor on canvas
121.9 x 96.5 cm (47 7/8 x 37 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2021.

£5,000 - 7,000 


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Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon Charity Auction

Online Auction 15 - 23 March 2021