19–25 July 2021
Nima is a 16-year-old A-level student who initially found her love for portraiture in 2017 after her art teachers at Benenden School encouraged her budding potential at her first art class. When she started, her paintings were mainly Arbitrary as she loved the freedom that came with having the choice to choose colours to express emotions, she viewed Maggie Hambling as an inspiration as she loved how Hambling’s brush strokes were so fluid and free. Nima’s art style plateaued for a while and she carried on making similar works, however, during the Christmas of 2020, she was gifted with an easel and canvases, which she then put to use in the first lockdown – the monotony of quarantine life made her pick up her paintbrush and she started creating. She moved away from the original arbitrary colouring but kept the dynamic brushstrokes, using her old skills. She developed an entirely new art style and is working hard to improve this even more.
Sometimes I do not understand my own creativity. I do believe that I’m grounded in my understanding of who I am and why I’m here – Adjani Okpu-Egbe
The Oxford Dictionary defines perspective as “a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view”. The word is profound especially as you ponder the particularity in its definition. Several people can look at one object; one profile; one face; one shop window and for each person different things are seen and thought. The permutations are endless. This is what inspires my art – why I choose the colours, the brush strokes, the silhouettes, the shadows, shapes and shades. When I focus on a subject I consider their environment, their mood, I wonder what they might be thinking in that precise moment, I ponder the colour of those emotions and I try to play all of these aspects out in each piece. Also, when I see a “picture” that I like it gives me a creative rush, this is when my best work is created.
I was humbled when my work was shortlisted for the Ruth Borchard prize. It was exciting that the judges could see through the subject into my perspective of the emotion. On the selfportraitprize Instagram page somebody said about my work “The more I stare at it, the more I drown….what wild euphoria this gives me”. I am grateful for that comment as they express their perspective about my perspective. I am grateful for all the lovely comments I have received about my submission for the prize and my work in general.
I must add that my genealogy has also been a source of inspiration. My parents are of French, British and African (Cameroon and Nigerian) heritage and this multi-ethnicity is expressed in the strong use of colour at the core of my work. The majority of my work is family members because taking candid pictures of relatives really inspires me to paint.
I work predominantly with acrylic paint on large canvass mounted on wood board. I like the bare openness of the work mounted plainly on wood. I also love the large scale of my work as it provides ample space for me to tell a more plural narrative of my perspective, whoever the subject may be.
The aim of art is not to represent the outward appearance of things but their inward significance – Aristotle