Oil, oil bar, and pigment stick on canvas
About the Artist
Latifah Stranack (b.1981, UK) is a visual artist whose practice has always been a safe haven for her, a place to reflect, question and feel connected to all the events that occur all around. Latifah's mixed heritage has often been a source of inspiration, and growing up between cultures has created a rich narrative and atmosphere for her to think about and work from. Latifah has always been fascinated by cultural hybridity and how this can also cause conflict in some situations. Partially revealed, Latifah attempts to reshape her reality and bring memories from the past to life, forever layered in washes of paint, helping work through subconscious emotions and fears. The work she is compelled to create, enables and empowers Latifah to make sense of who she is, contemplating her identity and the world around her. Through painting, Latifah challenges the perceptions of her own unique existence, brown skin from my father and white skin from my mother. Female body and gaze with and without the veil and mask. Latifah invented her female heroines as a tool to explore these concepts, at times appearing half visible beneath a sheer veil, eyes staring intently through a traditional batoola mask, or with lids delicately closed, lost deep in contemplation. These women and their surroundings, that she obsessively paints, are all fictional members of my metaphorical tribe. Latifah lives and works in London, UK.
About the Artwork
This painting is about the thinking woman, lost in thought, as she contemplates her life choices, memories and ideas about the world around her. I chose to paint her wearing elements of fashion from the Middle East and with women behind wearing the batoola mask, jewellery and embroidery on their dresses. The work is about my mixed heritage and my memories of growing up in Arabia, and it is a form of self-portrait. I wanted to explore colour combinations and mark-making, and I used a mixed technique of oil bar and pigment stick to give the image a rich surface and texture.