Tuesday, 12 September 2017

AALL and Create ITAC 17 ~ Challenge 4 ~ Africa

Hi everybody! I'm a bit late to the table but I've been wanting  to join in with the AALL and Create ITAC challenge. ITAC stands for 'the International Tournament of Art and Craft'. This has been running since August and features the work a highly prestigious group of artists. You can see all of the details, by following this link. Challenge 4 is 'Africa' My father was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria before coming to the UK,  where he met and married my mum. I never got to meet my dad's mother, but I share her name and some of her features. My canvas is an expression of these connections.
I started  off by covering a shop bought canvas with a piece of hessian wallpaper. I just wrapped it around and stapled it to the wooded frame. I then gave it a quick coat of gesso. I used Deco Art paints to colour  a piece of rice paper, using warm colours. Once dry I stamped over the surface, using black Archival ink and a set of 'Adinkra' symbol stamps, which I bought, when I was lucky enough to visit New York.....
The Adinkra symbols are specific to the Asante  people of  Ghana. They were initially used to pattern ceremonial cloth, but are now used in many other decorative ways. My son even has a small tattoo on his wrist, of one of the symbols! I tore the rice paper into strips and collaged it over the surface of the canvas, adhering with Matte Medium......
I then scraped some white gesso onto the canvas concentrating more on the area I was going to use to transfer an image of my grandmother. To make the photo transfer, I used my inkjet printer to copy a photograph of my grandmother. Here is the original picture.......
I love this. She has such a serene expression. I copied the picture a couple of times, enlarging it until I got to the size I needed for my canvas. I then trimmed the copy, and painted over the surface with Deco Art, Deco-Page Medium, I also painted the medium onto the canvas. I then placed the picture face down and gently smoothed out any air bubbles, Once I was sure that the picture was adhered to the canvas, but was not completely dry, I placed the canvas on a flat surface and burnished the back with a spoon. I left it to dry completely and then started to remove the paper, by wetting it and gently rubbing it away with my fingers. I did this quite cautiously, as I didn't want to rub away, any of her lovely features.......
I then used one of my hand carved stamps to add  more detail into the background. I also did some scribbley journalling with a black pen......
To finish off, I added a little tinting to to my grandmother's image, before giving the whole canvas a wash with quinacridone gold mixed with a touch of yellow ochre and paynes grey. I also blended  Archival black ink around the edges. I had originally thought that I would add some beads and cowrie shells, but when I had a second look, I decided that it was finished. I'm very happy that the AALL and Create, ITAC 17, has prompted me to make this piece of art, that has enabled me to honour my grandmother and celebrate my Nigerian heritage. x 



  1. Oh Toni, this is beyond amazing! Total coolness and the personal meaning shines through in your attention to detail. Truly amazing and such an inspiration. Hugs, Autumn

  2. Stunning, such a beautiful face, beautifully incorporated into the challenge themes. I wanted to join in too but as usual time is running out. So glad you've submitted this...it's a delight! Hugs Ruth xx

  3. Absolutely stunning Toni - such a beautiful photograph, but I love what you have created with it. In fact it looks totally different from the photograph! I could look at your canvas all day. Truly stunning! Jennie x

  4. Fabulous!!! A Wonderful canvas!!!

  5. I feel so bad that I missed this wonderful post... your Grandmother is a stunning lady and yes, she does look very serene. The transfer worked beautifully and your hand carved stamping looks fantastic in the background. I so enjoyed reading your post and this is such a beautiful tribute to your Grandmother! Hugs, Anne xx

  6. What a stunning canvas. Having just seen your inspiration post over at S&S, I was hoping it would be here in more detail. Your grandmother is a beautiful woman and you have done her proud here - what a gorgeous piece of art.
    Alison x