This painting is mixed media on canvas. I’ve experimented with spray-paint, acrylic, liner and oil pastel (fixed). My friends young girl was drawing in my studio and left my box of oil pastels open. When I went up there to paint, I started to pack it away when an idea hit me, ‘why not use a combination of oil pastel on acrylic?’. So I did and the effect was amazing. I fix it with a spray so it won’t smudge, then it is varnished.
What inspired me to paint this? Always beauty…but this started off as a ‘tribal meets modern world’, how the beautiful black women of this land have so gracefully merged with ‘western’ culture and fashion.
While I was painting this, I read an article about how more and more darker skinned people are trying to bleach and lighten their skin. I was completely gobsmacked as one of the most awesome traits of African people is their smooth, toned, chocolate-coloured skin. I think they’re mad to not love their colour but we all have ‘the grass is greener on the other-side’ demons to ward off, I suppose.
I have a friend called Pheliwe. The first thing that drew me in about her, other than her infectious smile and personality, was the fact that she had the most silky even-toned brown skin. I even had to ask her if I could touch her arm.
So, the message of this piece — love the skin you’re in!