Seamlessly fusing high and low culture into a glorious celebration of Black womanhood, British artist Somaya Critchlow’s voluptuous paintings and drawings combine the aesthetics of Lil’ Kim and Cardi B with those of Renaissance masters including Diego Velázquez and Peter Paul Rubens to create a captivating, female-dominated universe.
After receiving her post-graduate degree from London’s prestigious Royal Drawing School in 2017 Critchlow realized that the education she received did not connect with or represent her experiences. Determined to create visibility for those who have been marginalized and erased, Critchlow decided to cast herself as her own subject, glamorised like a star on Love & Hip Hop, to celebrate the pleasure and power of being Black and female.
Drawing upon autobiographical references from memory and observation as well as found imagery, Critchlow has quickly become a force to be reckoned with. Following her debut solo exhibition Underneath a Bebop Moon at London’s Maximillian William Gallery in 2020, this summer the artist will release her first monograph, Somaya Critchlow: Paintings (Skira), a collection of her sumptuous figures that revel in the joys of beauty, sensuality, and desire, with a text by Amanda Renshaw.
Text Miss Rosen