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An Eclectic Inheritance - Red Gate Gallery

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AN EXHIBITION of recent works by Melanie LaRocque, An Eclectic Inheritance, will be on display at the Red Gate Gallery from January 23 to January 29, 2009.

An Eclectic Inheritance is an exploration of LaRocque’s cultural roots. A self-taught artist whose works conceptualise the foundations of her cultural existence, she asks who or what defines our culture: Is it truly made up of the best elements of our past? How does it affect us and can we redefine it? And do we subsequently recreate the fabric of culture by acknowledging the diversity of things that influence our lives?

The works exhibited not only address these very questions, but also let the viewer reflect on how different cultural identities are mirrored within contemporary visual language.

Her very personal style of portraiture is expressed through a blend of subtle hues, intense sweeps of colour and various textures. LaRocque’s figures are faceless, yet full of expression. Additionally, the artist’s paintings not only implement the Trinidadian sayings of her parent’s homeland, but equally counsels with west-African adinkra symbols, which were created by the Akan of Ghana and the Gyaman of Cote d’Ivoire.

Adinkra symbols are utilized to communicate evocative messages of life counsel. The patois and Creole sayings have a similar weight in West Indian life using vivid imagery to convey their messages.

Her artistic influences are simple – Reality, Dreams and Faith. With these three, she creates pieces that are hard to ignore. The simple forms against strong colour pallets convey a surprising sense of emotion. She takes you from Africa to the Caribbean, from reality to spirituality, from sorrow to joy.

This collection of paintings in acrylic, oil and other forms of media are the pictorial foundations of the artist’s work.

Times: Saturday, Sunday, Monday to Wednesday from 2.30pm to 6.30pm. Last day of exhibition – from 11am to 5pm.

Red Gate Gallery, 209a Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8RU