«Lalu Rohingya Women»

«Lalu Rohingya Women»

Размеры (высота. ширина, мм): 355,6 x 304,8;
Техника исполнения: Oil on panel;
Год создания: 2017.

British artist and human rights activist Hannah Rose Thomas’ exhibition ‘Tears of Gold compiles three projects that she has been working on since 2017, collecting together her portrait paintings of Yezidi women who escaped ISIS captivity, Rohingya women who fled violence in Myanmar and Nigerian women who survived Boko Haram and Fulani violence. These portraits depict women from three different parts of the world and three different religions. Many of the women personally suffered sexual violence; others represent their wider community and the countless un-told stories of horror. All have been targeted on account of their faith and/or ethnicity and suffered additional vulnerability due to their gender.

Hannah met these women during her time organising art projects in Iraqi Kurdistan, Bangladeshi refugee camps and Northern Nigeria respectively. During the art projects Hannah taught the women how to paint their self-portraits as a way to share their stories with the rest of the world. Many of the women chose to paint themselves with glistening tears of gold: this inspired the title of the exhibition. Hannah’s portraits are a visual testimony not only of war and injustice but also of humanity, dignity and resilience. Through her paintings Hannah seeks to give voice to the voiceless, lionise the isolated and prescribe dignity to the persecuted and forcibly displaced.
During her MA at the Prince’s School of Traditional Art, Hannah specialised in early Renaissance egg tempera painting and gilding. For the portraits of Yezidi, Rohingya and Nigerian women Hannah chose the sacred imagery, painting techniques and gold leaf traditionally used for paintings of the Virgin Mary – the Mater Dolorosa, Mother of Sorrows – in the Renaissance. This is because Mary, like these Yezidi, Rohingya and Nigerian women, knew what it means to be poor, oppressed, a refugee; and for her heart to be pierced with grief at the loss of her beloved Son.

These paintings, like those of the Mater Dolorosa, seek to emotionally engage the viewer and inspire compassion, and are also meditations on the universal human experiences of suffering, grief and loss. In these portraits we see a glimpse of the women’s unspeakable grief but it is also a reminder that we all face grief, sorrow and loss at different times in life. We are not so different; we are inextricably connected to one another.

As a portrait painter Hannah hopes to communicate something of the beauty and worth of each individual in the eyes of God, regardless of race, religion, gender or social status. The use of gold leaf f is to show the sacred value of these women, in spite of all that they have suffered. It is symbolic of the restoration of dignity, especially important considering the stigma surrounding sexual violence.

Thomas’ work has been exhibited at prestigious venues such as the UK Houses of Parliament, European Parliament The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, GCHQ, Lambeth Palace, Westminster Abbey and The Saatchi Gallery. Three of Thomas’ paintings of Yezidi women were chosen by HRH The Prince of Wales for his exhibition Prince & Patron in Buckingham Palace in summer 2018. Tears of Gold was featured for the virtual exhibition with Google Arts & Culture to mark the UN’s Official 75th Anniversary Programme, ‘The Future is Unwritten: Artists for Tomorrow.’

Hannah was selected for the Forbes 30 Under 30 2019 for her work using art as a powerful tool for advocacy. She is shortlisted for the Women of the Future Award 2020 and a World Humanitarian Forum Youth Changemaker 2020 and UN Women UK 2020 Award Nominee. Hannah is currently a UNESCO ‘Art Lab for Human Rights and Dialogue’ PhD Scholar at the University of Glasgow.

  • Client Hannah Rose Thomas
  • Date Thursday September 10th, 2020
  • Tags works

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