Letter to my daughter

As you have learned from my previous posts on my Reclamation series, I was sent over alone from Nigeria to Kent when I was 4½. My father was a product of the African generation who were raised to romanticise England. I rarely saw my parents until I was 15 years old when my parents eventually came to live here. Correspondence home was my lifeline to a world that gradually became unfamiliar. At first the letters were read to me but then I was able to get a respect for the written word and the ceremonies surrounding it.

Letter to my Daughter I. Acrylic and mixed media on Dibond 60 x 60cm NFS…. yet.

Letter writing has been all but lost in our generation. While I am not opposed to messages of 140 characters or less, there is something deeply personal and powerful about a letter that cannot be conveyed in short bursts of communication.

I know that I am in danger of sounding terribly old, but I still enjoy getting a letter especially a handwritten letter – in the mail. You can’t ignore a letter – they impose themselves on you in way an email can’t. You can scroll past a message in a crowded inbox but something that lands on the mat or is handed to you is physically intrusive and demands attention, even if only to remove it from view, and it is a concrete reminder of a person or subject. As Tom Hanks wrote in his recent homage to typewriters; ‘no one ever chucks anything type written into the trash after just one reading. Emails? I delete most before I see the electronic signature’. Even the act of disposing of a letter takes effort and demands more engagement than pressing ‘delete’ – recycling or a more theatrical ripping or burning are visibly decisive acts, as irrevocable as they are symbolic. So letters demand engagement on every level.

Once a letter is gone it’s gone. A handwritten letter torn into fragments is not backed up on a giant server – the words of the writer are consigned to oblivion, whether this outcome is desirable or to be regretted later. Sadly, my letters suffered that fate, hence the obliteration in this series. A letter can’t be accidentally forwarded to the whole office and when it arrives it’s in a sealed envelope and unlikely to have been ‘hacked’.

Letter to my Daughter II. Acrylic and mixed media on Dibond 60 x 60cm NFS…. yet.

On the other hand, letters can, if deliberately preserved, survive long after their senders and recipients have gone. Letters we write now can form a paper trail back to their writers and intended readers, but their usefulness as windows on the past are perhaps less about the events or actions they document and more about how our forebears expressed ourselves, the language and written conventions of the time. This is in part because letters don’t lend themselves to short cuts, pro forma vocabulary and clichés as much as digital communications do – we don’t draw emojis or use text speak in letters.

Two Awards at the Hollybush Emerging Woman Painter Competition

Delighted to have been awarded the Susan Angoy Artist of African and Caribbean Heritage Award for Emergence and the Euan Millar Award for Abstract Art for The Colour Purple.

The Colour Purple

And …… both pieces have sold!

Hollybush Emerging Woman Painter Prize 2022

I am thrilled and honoured to learn that I am a finalist for the Hollybush Emerging Woman Painter Prize 2022, held at Lauderdale House in Highgate London N6 5HG.  The exhibition will be held from 9th June to 4th July.

The Holly Bush Woman Painter Prize is now the largest painting prize dedicated to women painters in the UK.

This prize is aimed at supporting, encouraging and mentoring emerging women painters. Each year twenty-two artists are chosen for the final of this competition which exhibits in London. From these twenty-two talented women the first prize is awarded to a painter who has demonstrated exceptional potential to become an established professional artist. 

​The exhibition offers a genuine opportunity for emerging women artists to further their career and for art collectors to invest in the future of the art-world’s emerging talent. So what is meant by an emerging artist? It refers to an artist who has not been snapped up by a gallery, does not have an art agent and whose profile in the art market is low, to be emerging.

The organisation strives to champion women artists and try to play a part in correcting the imbalance in the art world. Did you know top London galleries exhibit more work by male artists than female and that their work sells for more than their female counterparts? Women are also under represented in the major roles in the art world and paid less. 

They are here to help change that!

The chosen finalists’s paintings can be seen here, and there is the opportunity for you to vote for your favourite(s).

For the first time in the competition’s history two works by a single artist have been selected for the final. I am delighted that both my pieces were chosen :

The Colour Purple

Framing the Future

I am delighted to be co-curating “Framing the Future” an online ArtCan exhibition to mark International Women’s Day.

5th – 26th March 2022

ArtCan is hosting a Virtual Exhibition for International Women’s Day 2022. Building on ArtCan’s international membership and founding principle of fair pay for artists, the exhibition will focus on the incredible art our women members are producing.

Virual Gallery


I am enjoying my first taste of being a member of ArtCan.

Details of Artcan can be found on their website www.artcan.org.uk

You can also watch a video produced by my husband, Derek, as an introduction under their “Meet the Artist” programme:

Reclamation Series 1

The Colour Purple

The Colour Purple

 In creating this, the last of the paintings in my trilogy on reclaiming my identity,  I realised that there is a strong influence of Peter Doig who I’ve referenced before. He says more of an outsider than anything. “People will ask me where I’m from, and I say, ‘Well, I’m from here,’ and they may be surprised. 

I’ve named this painting: “The Colour Purple” referencing Alice Walker’s novel of the same name.  Celie, the protagonist believes that once she gets self- identity, she can have the right to enjoy the purple, her most favourite/favouring colour.

Hence this piece has a complex layering of colour and landscaping which creates its own visual language. Deliberately, here is a nameless landscape in the middle of a barren land, of no specific time.  I hope to incorporate figures into landscapes as the year moves on.

Visit to Margate

Short break in Margate offered the chance to see two exhibitions:

1. Met  up with Emily Tull in the Turner Contemporary exhibition where we saw her stitched portrait of me which she completed at the beginning of Lockdown 2020. 

2.  Attended the Private view of the Carl Freedman Gallery:  “To all the Kings who have no Crowns” exhibition. The title aptly represents the seventeen self-taught and disabled artists chosen who, despite being skilled artists, are yet to receive the recognition they rightly deserve within contemporary arts. 

The gallery space is beautifully light and spacious. I met the curator, Jennifer Gilbert, who generously talked me through some selected works. Jennifer is passionate about creating awareness and gaining respect for these and many others.

This thought-provoking show is designed to challenge preconceived ideas, and to stimulate conversation and interaction. I had such an enriching time talking to several of the artists. I also had the fortune to meet the gallery Director and co-host of the celebrated podcast: TalkArt!

Two Private Views

“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul” Bernard Shaw.

What a privilege it was to be invited to my lovely friend, Curtis Holder’s Private Viewing for his first solo exhibition:SOMETHING UNSPOKEN at 45, Park Lane!
It’ was a stunning exhibition where the highly intelligent portraits seem to own the hotel space – so magical! It’s fascinating to see the diaphanous, multilayered coloured portraits, created in a language of their own. As the brochures states: “He aims to evoke an individual’s unspoken truth, which he compels the to search for, and in doing so, reflect on their own perceptions.”

“Artists working for other artists is all about knowing, learning, unlearning, initiating long-term artistic dialogues, making connections, creating covens, and getting temporary shelter from the storm. “Jerry Saltz

I was fortunate enough to attend the opening of Charmaine Watkiss’s first solo show, “The Seed Keepers,” @tiwanicontemporary in South Kensington. Her show is truly outstanding.I cannot express enough the joy I had from her important work. She tells stories through drawing figures of herself, using “traditional African cosmologies, and modes of kinship with the natural world”. There was so much to unpick in Charmaine’s drawing that I could listen to her for hours.

I find people’s journey into art fascinating and Charmaine Watkiss’s is just that! She is such an inspiration. She worked as a shoe designer for several years, studied film and spent time helping artists to make video, then worked for two decades as a digital designer. Only in 2014 did she decide to formally train as an artist, graduating from the MA Drawing programme at Wimbledon College of Arts in 2018. Now she’s given up the day job to become a full time artist and is on the selection panel for the @derwentartprize 2022! What an achievement!