Heatherleys Highlights for Black History Month 2023
For many of us, every month is Black History Month. This year we’re highlighting and celebrating the work and achievements of some of our Black staff, models and students across our blog and social media. 👉 Follow us here.
Check back here throughout the month to see our highlights.
Read: The Colour of Self-Discovery – An interview with psychotherapist and portrait painter Annis Booker for Black History Month
Born in North-east England and mixed-race, much of Annis Booker’s heritage is unknown. Working as a psychoanalytical psychotherapist, she has always had an interest in people, relationships, narratives, emotions, and social issues.
Studying on the Diploma in Portraiture at Heatherleys, she is currently working on a series of paintings exploring her identity and experience as a mixed-race woman. The first painting in the series, titled ‘The struggle with colour’, is currently hung on show at the World’s End Studios. Off the canvas, Annis has explored the topic of unknown heritage writing for a national newspaper. Read her article here.
Colin is a black British artist based in south London. If you’ve had the opportunity to study at Heatherleys, you might recognise Colin, who has graced our model stand as one of our beloved portrait models. A man of many talents he’s also a gifted artist, so I am thrilled to showcase his work in our Black History Month features.
Colin’s evolution as an artist commenced well before his formal art education at Camberwell College of Art. His work is infused with a unique perspective derived from a rich tapestry of experiences outside the art realm, one that unexpectedly resonates with a broad audience.
Drawing inspiration from the graphic aesthetics of comic books and the urban energy of graffiti, Barnes’ art exudes an infectious sense of playfulness. Within the vibrant colours, his pieces often capture moments of peculiar intrigue, introducing a touch of subtle disquiet that draws viewers deeper into his creations.
“I’m a big believer in instinct, and I use that instinct to explore my own experience. I’m mostly interested in discovering something new or reusing images and materials in new ways that hold the attention of the observer.”
In his most recent collection, Barnes delves into the nuanced and open-ended inquiries surrounding the portrayal of black culture in popular media. With an inquisitive rather than accusatory stance, he offers a contemporary commentary that manages to be visually engaging and thought-provoking. His work consistently injects humour, endowing each piece with a unique perspective.
Barnes constantly explores diverse artistic mediums, ranging from print and oil paintings to contemporary sculptures. Check out some of his work below.
Interview Coming Soon
Adebanji Alade, an artist dedicated to infusing the vitality and impact of sketching into every project he embarks on. He ardently believes that sketching serves as the foundation for all artistry. His creations invariably resonate with the dynamic energy and the art of capturing fleeting moments.
He draws inspiration from both live subjects and photographic references, all in pursuit of the common goal of instilling a lively, sketch-like quality into the final artwork.
Adebanji’s primary focus lies in the intricate facets of humanity, including the interplay of light, emotions, moods, beauty, and the unique character each face possesses. Additionally, his passion for places is kindled by the ambiance, historical significance, ever-changing moods, and the interplay of light that each location can offer at any given moment.
Adebanji is a Nigerian artist born in England.
British Plein Air Painters
31 October to 5 November 2023
RWS Gallery, 3-5 Whitcomb street,
London WC2H 7HA
Chelsea Art Society
4 to 12 November 2023
340 Kings Road, Chelsea
Royal Institute of Oil Painters
29 November to 16 December 2023
Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace
London, SW1Y 5BD
Interview Coming Soon
Fatima is a multidisciplinary artist from London. She is British and of Sierra Leonean and Malian heritage. Her creative practice currently focuses on figurative oil painting and printmaking. Her creative journey is deeply rooted in personal integrity, drawing inspiration from her inner struggles and her keen observations of the world.
Fatima firmly believes that as an artist she has a responsibility to confront and reflect upon the pressing issues of society, to pursue the evocation of emotion in her audience. However, she acknowledges that her artistic purpose is a dynamic entity, adapting to the context, location, audience, and her own emotional state.
Above all, Fatima’s overarching objective remains constant: to craft art that contributes to the healing process of life, with a particular focus on aiding people of colour in their journey towards healing and restoration.
Fatima is a graduate of the Diploma in Portraiture.
Interview Coming Soon
If you’re a student or staff at Heatherleys you may have encountered Diana in her role as Student Support/Outreach. She has been involved in a number of projects over the years encouraging diversity and inclusion at Heatherleys.
Painting of Arnold Soazandry by Sarah Hills
Arnold Soazandry an experienced art model, free spirit, locks wearer, hot yoga and Soca lover, of Madagascan and Martinique heritage, born in Paris.
Nariscia (she/her) is an art model and a visual artist Caribbean descent. Her work is rooted in spirituality and connection back to self. Her intuitive ways of expression have grown into a meditative art practice for healing to go deeper, and into the root of what it means to transcend and be free.
Nariscia is also an astrologer and wellness practitioner. She curates creative wellness experiences in a sacred space where she guides people through meditation, body movement and different creative activities to connect with their inner self and enhance their well-being. See some of her work below.
Tenisia is one of our fantastic life and portrait models and is of Caribbean heritage.
Features and interviews by Ashley Bailey
Ashley (she/her) is of mixed British and Jamaican heritage. Her favourite book, film and colour are all The Colour Purple and she has a cat named Raja. At Heatherleys she manages our Digital Marketing & Communications. Ashley is also an artist, freelance writer, yoga teacher and occasional model. Her current work is in woodcarving, ceramics and the written word. She has a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Central St Martins where she worked in sculpture, performance and digital media, exploring themes of identity and relationships to the self and the other.