About this artwork

This portrait depicts the preeminent forensic anthropologist Professor Dame Sue Black, Baroness Black of Strome. In her autobiographical work All That Remains: A Life in Death, she gives an account of growing up in the Highlands, working in a butcher’s shop from the age of twelve, and going on to study anatomy at the University of Aberdeen. She has said that forensic anthropology ‘reconstructs the life led’ and the job of a forensic anthropologist is ‘to reunite the identity constructed during a life with what remains of the corporeal form in death.’ This was her mission in 1999 when she made the first of her three tours to Kosovo, working twelve to sixteen-hour shifts, often seven days a week, in order to identify the human remains of the victims of war crimes committed during the Balkan Wars. She was, she says, ‘indelibly marked by the experience’. Professor Black was Director of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee before taking up the post of Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Engagement at Lancaster University.

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  • title:
    Unknown Man
  • accession number:
    PGL 2514
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • date created:
    2019
  • measurements:
    199.00 x 275.00 cm
  • credit line:
    Ken Currie, on Long Term Loan to the National Galleries of Scotland, 2020
  • copyright:
    © Ken Currie. Photo: Neil Hanna

Ken Currie

Ken Currie