I, Gold– Golden Series III, 2018 – 2022
Primary Gold– Golden Series II, 2019
Black Gold– Golden Series I, 2018
When I started my life in Africa – or “Africa Light” how some people like to call Cape Verde – I was soon drawn to the beauty of African Women. It was probably a mixture of all: their colourful clothes and beautiful glowing skin, the pictures that their bodies gave in front of the painted houses and the hot orange sun that made all of it shine even more warmly and intensely. Soon after I found that not only were they of a majestic beauty, but of indispensable worth for everyone around them: they sold the fish and the vegetables, they wiped the streets & cleaned the public spaces, they took care of the children and cleaned at home too, they took care of the elders and cooked at the market, they organized the birthday and funeral parties.
One day in early 2015, after having lived in Tarrafal for several weeks, I remembered the expression “being worth gold”. It described and still describes best how I feel about these women and how I perceive their value in society. From that day it took me 3 years until the first Golden Series came to life.
In the first series, I used only golden acrylic paint and stamps in the same colour. The writings that fill the figures clothes and, at times, hair, are conversations or phrases in Cape Verdean Creole that I extracted from my diary, where I documented the conversations I had with the women in the pictures. The flowers in the pictures, a decorative element, partly also present the flowers that were on the original pictures taken or the background plants and flowers from the sketches the pieces are based on.
Golden Series II was a continuation of Black Gold, where I transitioned to colour, the three primary colours. I also carefully introduced the colour white to the pieces and freed myself from copying exact phrases from my diary. Instead, the writings in “Primary Gold” are loose Creole words that I remembered.
In the Third Golden Series, I focused mainly on portraits and opened the colour palette to the 3 secondary colours. The Creole words became affirmations in English language that speak of a woman’s worth and rights, such as “I own my future”, for instance. I incorporated pens and pencils to the drawings in order to infuse the figures with some volume, while still sticking to a mainly line based style. In all but one piece, the are more present than the flowers- the women in my pictures know there worth, they know their beauty, they are ready to own their past and future.
The first Series was exhibited under the exhibition title “Flowers” in “Galería e Spasu Cultural Nos Kausa” in Tarrafal, Santiago during the month of February of 2018 and the follow up series “Primary Gold” was exhibited in the same space in April 2019 accompanied by other works (textile and drawing) that I was working on at that moment.