Drawing Out Identities Through Portraiture



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In my search to depict my experience of reality through art, I make portraits. Through my work, I seek to document my personal experience of friendship, culture and community. I believe that in the continuous expansion of a globalized world, there are on-going interactions among personalities that reveal individual identities. My work feeds off the major relationships that I have had during an important transitional period in my life away from home in Ghana; and serves as a record of how meaningful they have been to me. Drawing has held a lot of importance in the development of my work. Through my experience abroad, I have come to closer terms with understanding my own identity as a Ghanaian, and how my experiences have aided the process of redefining myself. I draw inspiration from Magdalene Odundo’s work, which is an amalgamation of various cultural influences that make her work grossly traditional. Through her exploration of continued interactions within communities, Odundo’s clay pots seem to embody the concept of a contemporary, traditional and colonial African existing within western society: The relationship between the pots she makes and her Kenyan background raise the concept of shifting cultural identities...reflect much of her own experience, translated and encoded...in which there are many histories to be discovered and stories to be told. Looking at Odundo’s ceramics and the way that they reflect different influences – be they African or European – it is evident that tradition, however charged and emotional, is a potent force in her art. (Slater-Ralph, 9) Through the process of portrait making, I consider my work as a celebration of my African heritage. I hope that my pieces embody my identity as a Ghanaian living within a diverse community, and confirm the reality and worth of my experience.



Drawing, Portraiture