BBC Extraordinary Portraits exhibition at Turner Contemporary

Margate artist Lo Lo No with their portrait subject Jahmal in a previous exhibition

Turner Contemporary is hosting an exhibition of work from the acclaimed BBC series Extraordinary Portraits.

Extraordinary Portraits involves musician and passionate collector of art Tinie (formerly known as Tinie Tempah) match members of the public with extraordinary stories to a selection of distinctive and celebrated portrait artists.

The artists are then challenged to turn these personal and powerful experiences into compelling portraits- celebrating modern Britain.

Artist Dale Grimshaw and subject Patrick

Sitters include a bisexual footballer encapsulated in a multi-media artwork, a Shetland Island cancer survivor captured on canvas and an autistic surf champion, being photographed as a sea nymph.

Nav Raman, Executive producer for Chatterbox MediaTV Production company said: “Turner Contemporary celebrates Margate’s connection with J.M.W Turner, who used to visit the area to capture the incredible sunsets you can see from the gallery.  He, like us, believed that art could be an agent of change.”

Artist Bella Kotak with subject Charlotte

“We are proud of the portraits that were produced for this series. They aren’t just technically brilliant, but also powerful”, adds co-founder of Chatterbox Ali Quirk. “This series has quickly developed a dedicated following and active fan-base. We can’t wait for them to be able to see the pictures up close.”

Artist Christy Lee Rogers and subject Cee Cee

All 12 artists that featured on the first two seasons of the show will have their work on display, including paintings, large-scale street-art, underwater-photography, and hyper-realistic smaller works. The exhibition is being curated by Margate artist Lo Lo No, who also has a piece in the exhibition.

Artist Caroline Pool

Artist Dale Grimshaw said: “ I so enjoyed doing the show- I genuinely felt really blessed being part of it, and meeting some lovely people, in front of the cameras and behind them”

Fellow artist Ali Quirk added: “I think that this exhibition proves that portraiture has the ability to capture both the life-story and maybe something of the soul of the sitter. It is a pleasure to celebrate these contemporary British heroes in this way.”

The Extraordinary Portraits exhibition is running at the gallery until Sunday 23rd October.

Both series are still available on BBC iPlayer.


Tom Croft
Dale Grimshaw
Roxana Halls
Bella Kotak
Christy Lee Rogers
Ross Muir

Lo Lo No
Kelvin Okafor
Stuart Pearson-Wright
Caroline Pool
Laura Quinn Harris
Amar Stewart


  1. This is good news as the stories behind the paintings are as worthy of note as the paintings themselves, I’m not in to art but the program this showing originates from has put a different point of view on art for me, once you know the story the picture shows the depth of feeling, for once this is for those who don’t like art, try it out it’s not your arty farty people who painted them it’s by every day people. If you can watch one of the twelve programs please.

  2. Agree. Looks like “art” in the traditional sense. I like these – no point in old school portraits in the modern world as digitally enhanced photos will almost always be better- but these exaggerated, if that’s the right word- portraits are very good

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