In my artwork titled "Whipped for Love," I highlight the tragic reality of domestic abuse that many women around the world experience, often in the name of love. Both Banna women of Ethiopia, who willingly subject themselves to whipping, and Yoruba women of Nigeria, who stay with men who physically abuse them, are united by this common factor of love. However, love is not truly blind - it blinds us to the reality of the situation and can prevent us from seeing the harm that is being inflicted upon us. This artwork aims to shed light on this disturbing trend and encourage a deeper understanding of the complexities of love and abuse.
From painting with charcoal to blending with palm oil, both require brush strokes because of the canvas texture, which simulates the painting experience for me. This elegance is comprehended through the appeal of both visual and aromatic senses, due to the sublime and striking bronze-like hue of the figures, as well as the innocuous aura of the organic substance.
Palm oil’s versatility in our traditional African meal, and its tremendous export record, makes it the appropriate medium to showcase African veracity through Body Language series.
My use of palm oil to depict African anatomical figures, aims to tell tales of the raw and harsh reality of stigmatization to individuals living with body scars, body shaming, and body deformities caused by poverty, accidents, and genetics. As I have been inspired by my own scars, awakening a realization that ‘scars are tattoos’, beget the desire to capture my audience's empathy towards those who fall short of society’s standard of a beautiful body anatomy.
This figure painting is created on stretched canvas, using paint brush to apply the shades and tones of charcoal due to the surface texture of the canvas. I use erasers to lift off excess charcoal, and smudge the surface using a clothing piece. Lastly, blending with palm oil using a brush gives off a soothing fragrance of a traditional African meal.