Give Me a Reason to Raise My Head (I-IV) Acrylic on Canvas These paintings are a look at the position of the African female in a contemporary world where opportunity is vast, but limited. They display a situational conundrum: Being in the position of a potentially productive and optimum state of development, merely by being a human being, versus, the oppressive reality of creative prejudice, in which the opposite - un-moderated development of mind and individual - equating creative freedom, is not privy to her existence and affects the African girl child with every breath she takes. The series was created in descending order, from adulthood to conception, but in regards to human development, as what is now the very basics of science through observation, should be discussed backwards, from IV to I. Give Me a Reason to Raise My Head IV Her life begins at conception, as does all human life and this is the primary, unequivocal rationalization for egalitarian society. This foetus is cradled between the flower’s sexual reproductive components, the stamen and the ovaries, which represent the mother’s amniotic fluids. Following conception, in this physiologically enhanced stage of development, her potential is infinite. How she is to affect the world is the sole decision of genetics in the development of her physiological brain to fashion an impressionable yet deterministic mind. In contrast to this plausibility, at birth, her rite to living seems neglected; an almost audible sigh of disappointment is released! Though, if free from physical harm, she endeavours to keep breathing. Give Me a Reason to Raise My Head III A child is genetically pre-programmed to receive information and knowledge from figures of authority. In conjunction with this influence, these are personality-forming years. Unfortunately, stereotyping, in contemporary Africa takes effect at a very young age. Girls are not awarded their rite to education and with a devalued mind, spend their time doing household chores and acts of mild manual labour. The essentials of democracy are to begin at home though, and so in order to move forward as a proficiently functioning society, this Africa must change. This painting depicts a more optimistic situation in which the girl is the chief architect of her days. She is seen running, care-free and child-like, into an undetermined horizon of her hopes, possibly encompassing an education, a career etc, between an un-specified species of flower. Give Me a Reason to Raise My Head II Although childhood in a closed society oftentimes cements achievements or reactions in adulthood, one’s teenage years remain a defining factor. In keeping with the visual optimism of this series, an adolescence of awareness follows: she may recognise her chains, be they mental, societal, or physical, and with all her might, she shakes them loose. Seeking serenity, depicted here by a symbol of a rose, she sets about to conquer imposed injustice; educating herself and finding a space, not unlike the rose, that is acceptable of femininity. Give Me a Reason to Raise My Head I The final painting depicts her confident emergence into adulthood. From a winter of suffering and searching for a footing of even ground on which to develop her identity, she can now contribute to change a world of parochial ideals in regards to her existence. Spring has arrived indeed! Still, We Bleed Our Blood Oil on Canvas A pair of paintings developed from an experience evoked by the art of a fellow painter from Sudan. Sudan, a country so close to my native Kenya, has been in turmoil all my life: Blood shed over the longest conflict our continent has known. Lasting since the 1950s, it is a struggle consequential of tribal and religious differences in the never-ending battle for power: The age-old origin of war. Still, We Bleed Our Blood are a vocation for peace, reaching into the depths of the viewer’s humanity, from the transparent hues to a naturally induced passion, calling for the eternal, peaceful presence of Man on this earth. Yet with all our knowledge, obvious compassion for one another and the benefit of hindsight from the atrocities of the twentieth century, still, we bleed our blood.
Biography: In my first twenty years, I'd lived on three continents for extensive periods of time: Africa; Europe; and North America. My art is evidence of the due process encompassing the individual I have become, continue to become and the knowledge I gain.
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