Photo Credit: Talitha Puri Negri
Drawing is my primary means of enquiry and my work explores the cultural and artistic life within East Africa, focusing in particular on Lamu Island off the north Kenya coast. I work in Printmaking using traditional materials in etching and wood engraving. My ongoing aim is to look at my identity and personal response to this link, both historical and contemporary between the UK and Kenya. My printmaking is therefore influenced by the culture and natural history of the Island.
Pattern making is central to my imagery and I prefer to work on an intimate scale, small objects such as insects, shells, small plants and seedpods can be drawn life size. Drawing within the format of a pattern helps me to understand and recognise how important nature is as a key to creativity.
I look and respond to pattern within the natural forms that I draw such as fractural pattern formation within nature as well as artists' textiles in Britain from 1945 such as Robin and Lucienne Day, Paolozzi, Sutherland and Moore and traditional and contemporary artists textile Kangas in Kenya. In African cultures verbal and visual arts often combine to reinforce and enrich one another. Proverbs and spoken narrative are used in unison with visual art forms providing complex systems of communication.
Since 1993 I have collaborated with writer Gabriel Gbadamosi, whose poems draw on threads of moments as a response to my image making.
I work in sets and series, to produce a narrative visual journey, combining figurative and abstracted elements. Each series is put together into a small edition concertina book format, with hand set typography, hand made covers and end papers.