Nyakeh David

Contemporary Art and Illustration BA(Hons)

Colour, texture, and music are the foundation on which my paintings stand.

I primarily use acrylic paints to create portraits of Black figures. These figures are often representations of myself or other people who have impacted my life. My paintings draw on half-remembered moments, snippets into my mind.

Music plays a part in my making process by enabling me to bring in energy and emotion into my work. My brush strokes are like dance moves, swerving and swaying to the music. I achieve a variety of different textures by mixing different mediums in with my acrylic paint. This adds a tactile element and can either and a solidness to the painting or a washy thinness to this.

Paintings to me are not individual finished works, they are a step to me unlearning different elements from my childhood and I see them as tool to help other young Black kids who might be struggling excepting themselves. I grew up hating that I was Black and rejecting everything associated with Blackness. I also was raised a Jehovah witness ingraining in me unhealthy beliefs around perfection. I became obsessed with this idea of perfection and the feeling of failure that I would never be Godlike. My practice has been a tool to unlearn these beliefs and reconciling myself with this history. Thus, my paintings are about acceptance, about loving who I am, longing for something for neglected and a reframing of something hated to something sacred. It is a gift to my younger self as well as my viewer, that they are Godlike as they are.