During the months of April and May, our colleague Fola Harold from @artsy_folk_ will interview a series of artists to give them the opportunity to share background information about themselves and their work with a wider audience.
For this week’s feature, Fola picked Nigerian artist Francis Jeremiah, whose portrait paintings in cool and earthy colours make use of leaves and other organic elements to depict the female figure.
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About Francis’ work
Francis Jeremiah’s work showcases the intricate relationship between man and nature. He uses cool and earth colours in his large canvases that are mostly filled with lone figures and multiple narratives.
His deliberate use of leaves as the hair of his subjects is influenced by his experience as a kid in Kaduna, Nigeria where he grew up within a pastoral lifestyle. He found love for adventure by walking and playing into the deeper part of the village where he interacted with flowers and learnt about plants. On his way home, he would see farmers packing vegetables and plants on their heads after harvest and this looked like hair to him. He therefore utilizes this as a metaphor for productivity, harvest and fruitfulness in his work.
He later attended The Auchi Polytechnic where had his Higher National Diploma Degree. After graduation, he tried to create an identity for himself and this led him to multiple experimentation with figures. He thereafter settled with floral patterns on the face of his subjects which he employs as symbols of beauty and impermanence. He depicts the peeling off of the florals on the face of his subjects as a symbol of growth and impermanence while his delineation of butterflies around the face is his suggestion of the beauty and attractive quality of the human skin.
Francis now lives and works in Sagamu, Nigeria and he is using his work to advocate for the preservation of green environments for adequate oxygen and healthy habitats as buildings are taking up open spaces that are meant for trees and plants.
Oil on Canvas, 91.44 x 121.92 cm
Oil on Canvas, 91.44 x 91.44 cm
Anticipation 1, 2022
Oil on Canvas, 137.16 x 182.88 cm
Oil on Canvas, 137.16 x 182.88cm
For more information about the artist, please visit:
All photographs courtesy of Francis Jeremiah Oshogwe
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