Contrasting textures and tones are something I have been interested in over the last few projects. The research I have done on modern Africa has led me back on that path once more. In the above images (taken from the amazing photography book of Leni Riefenstahl’s photography by Taschen) we see the beautiful painted bodies of two tribes people, I really love the contrasting skin tones and how the finishes accentuate their form. Contrasts, however, have not only been skin deep throughout my research, they have been integral to many parts of it, from tribes people against city people, traditional against modern and poverty against great wealth. Africa really is a land of contrasts and so I thought it was really important to show this through my work. I have been playing around with different surface textures on recycled rubber inner tubes. Recycling has become a big part of my practice, it is also something which is prevalent in African culture. Tribe’s people are very resourceful and will use what is available to them to create beautiful adornment.
I’ve had some research ideas for my final major project floating around my head for sometime now but I finally decided to concentrate on Africa, a broad subject I realise! I am particularly interested in Sub-Saharan Africa, the contrasts of rural and city life and the changing culture. It is near impossibly not to be drawn in and inspired by the amazing adornment which has existed in their culture for hundreds of years. For me, it is really important that I find my own voice within this theme, to express an alternative viewpoint. Unfortunately I can’t afford to go do any primary research in Africa! So I’m doing as much as I can from the UK. I’m really excited about this project so far, hopefully it will lead me to something interesting!