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 really love the amazingly over the top gold that the Asanti tribe from Ghana wear. For centuries they have been making jewellery using the lost wax casting technique, where wax models are covered in thin layers of clay, which is then fired so that the clay hardens and the wax melts out, the clay is then used to cast the gold. I thought it would be interesting to recreate the texture and look of the cast gold jewellery using a non precious material, something which could be done by anyone. I have cut rubber inner tubes and sprayed them with gold paint which I actually really like!