My work focuses on my cultural identity as a Jamaican woman of African and East Indian descent. I depict the merging of both cultures with the use of fabric from each. The fabric is used as an additional identifier for who I am, rather than my skin tone. I like to find the abstracted figure within the grains of wood adding my body parts and fabric. The merge of abstraction and realism shows the transition of the figure from not knowing who they are to knowing just enough. In Jamaica as a child being mixed with another race was glorified and overshadowed your blackness. The silkier the hair, the “nicer” and “prettier” it and you are. I have included synthetic hair to signify my struggle from a young age with the attachment to my hair. I signified my hair with my beauty. When amongst “pure” Indians I felt less than because my hair was still not straight enough and my skin not light enough. I was identified as a “Black Indian”. According to society, all Indians were of light complexion and because of colourism, lighter skin, in general, was idealized as a signifier of beauty.
My process is based on my research on traditional and contemporary art from each culture. I try to explore different processes from each as my foundation. The goal of each piece is to learn more about myself throughout the process. My inspirations include Wangechi Mutu, Iona Rozeal Brown, Simone Leigh and Mikalene Thomas.
Black Indian, oil on wood, fabric. 60” x 30” 2020
Knowledge, ceramic, fabric, wood. 9” x 10” x 21” 2019–2020
Brought to the land of wood and water, the colours of their culture flood the streets oil paint, fabric, wood. 2020
raneecebuddan.com | ig: @artbybuddan