Charlie Phillips. How Great Thou Art: 50 Years of African Caribbean Funerals in London

5 October - 17 December 2023

Charlie Phillips’ How Great Thou Art - 50 Years of African Caribbean Funerals in London is a sensitive photographic documentary of the social and emotional traditions that surround death in London’s African Caribbean community. This will be the first time that the Centre for British Photography’s main space will present a solo exhibition.


The title for the exhibition is borrowed from the popular hymn sung at funerals that praises the life of an individual, and this project is a declaration of love and celebration for the traditions and cultures of the African diaspora in London. An immersive exhibition, it will include photographs, video and music.


Paul Goodwin, curator, lecturer and urban theorist has observed:

“How Great Thou Art is a new landmark in black British photography. The question of death and the cultural responses to death through funerals in the Caribbean community has featured sporadically in various photographic oeuvres before but no one has explored this subject in such depth and in such a participatory and embedded manner as Charlie Phillips in How Great Thou Art.”


Charlie Phillips was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1944 and arrived in Britain in 1955, where he settled in London's Notting Hill. His photographs provide an intimate insight into the Black British experience. He was awarded an OBE in 2022.


This exhibition is a re-presentation of an exhibition originally curated by Eddie Otchere and Lizzy King for Photofusion in 2014, with support from Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts Fund.