"That Thing Around My Neck" by Ify Chiejina
18 x 20 inches, mixed media on paper, limited edition #4 of 30 --unframed
My full name is Ifeatuanya Chiejina, and I am a visual artist born and raised in NYC. With each day that passes, I am thankful to be a black Igbo female visual artist. I’m constantly coming into the realization that it is up to me to present myself, and bring forth my own happiness. I carry some ideas, thoughts, and truths that are reflective of various customs and traditions. But I also accept and carry with me truths that are not.
My parents kept albums containing pictures, and having the access to view them frequently, gives me several reasons to appreciate the essence of one’s own personal sense of self, within an environment or space. I primarily work in acrylic paint on canvas and or paper, but I do venture and create with other wet and dry based mediums such as charcoal. I do like to distort with my materials, and the human figure. I chose to play with the human form so that my pieces can evolve and move from just being understood as direct renderings of photographs. Portrait of Father, Their Time in the Ivory Coast, and A Photograph Sent, are examples of pieces that are direct renderings of photographs. I want to leave room for imagination, and I also work to create symbolic pieces.
In my portraits and figurative pieces I express emotions, personalities and character. I lost my mother in 2014, and I’ve created several works that are reflective of my feelings, which stem from her absence. Immediately following my mother’s passing, I painted Three Persons in One Mother. I witnessed my mother’s health decline fairly quickly, and in each hospital and hospice visit, I viewed her individuality and essence differently.
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