An experimental and concurrent offshoot of We become abstract, Lost under still currents, is a series of early experiments attempting to consider the portrait that solidifies fame and celebrity. All of the people depicted in this body of work are people of colour who have offered a significant contribution to history but are not generally well known. My overall aim is to question how we see people, especially people of colour. By not featuring any detail of their face or skin, and only hair and clothes, the viewer is presented with a more hollow image, depicting elements that are meta to the individual.
Through the paintings I am asking who is the person, how are they remembered (or forgotten) and who owns the memory of them. Moreover, does the image of an individual become a free-for-all after their death? Beyond celebrity, the paintings also explore notions of how we remember. A study by neuroscientists at University of Leicester found that we have neurons that only fire when photographs, illustrations or
associated words/images of a particular person are shown. They found that the same neuron fired even when a celebrity’s name was shown. I wanted to push the idea of unfamiliarity to the limit by extracting what remnants impose the familiarity.
Lost Under still currents Lost at sea Or at least in rivers between lands Melting into situations As an outsider Only for short times This way of being is Exhausting A ballet for those Without a fixed abode Interfering Into places Which aren’t for them But A thicket of thoughts Cause worry In this fizzing mind A worry asks Is it because I don’t sit for long Or maybe that I can’t Is it because I sit alone Without a trance Answers written on faces eluded a mental enunciation screaming rainbow Hallucinations