“She channels the strength of the female graff artists, emcees, deejays and breakers of today alongside the presence of the goddesses of ancient time. Her Hip-Hop encourages strength and understanding of self. It tells her not to be afraid of who she is. She is determined to never become what they proclaim she should be and to grow into everything they say she cannot. She is one with her history, her culture and her beliefs. Make way for the SoulSister.”
I created “SoulSister” for my recent show “If Hip-Hop Had A Face”. “SoulSister” pays homage to hip-hop and is dedicated to all fans of the hip-hop culture. Here’s some insight into what inspired me to create this piece.
To me, “SoulSister” embodies the true spirit of hip-hop. It appeals to different generations and speaks to different cultures. Being a fan of hip-hop myself, people usually do a double take when I mention a song or use an expression that only someone in the culture knows. What I love about this piece is that it challenges the pre-conceived notions of what a hip-hop head should look like. So get those misconceptions out of your head!
People may be surprised as to why I chose an Irish freckled-faced woman to represent the “SoulSister.” I was intrigued with the similarities in history of the Irish people and African-Americans. Throughout history, the Irish were persecuted and discriminated against based on their race, religion and economic status. And most people don’t realize that the English sold the Irish as slaves in the 1600s. The Irish have been ridiculed and satirized.
To a certain degree, I also wanted my SoulSister to have noticeable facial features. The red hair and freckles; features that link the owner to distant celtic roots. Those features are also cause for various jokes and unkind expressions. I remember watching M.I.A’s video for “Born Free,” which was a social commentary on many things, but visually chose to show the persecution of red-haired men. The video was very chilling and overt. Its message struck a cord with me stuck with me because unfortunately this type of persecution happens every day all over the world based on your race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or socio-economic status. But I digress. If you are at all interested in reading more about it click here.
As I started to do my research, I found a lot of information about the meaning of Celtic symbols, which I felt I had to incorporate into the drawing in order to bring forth the beautiful culture of the Celts. Feels like I’m back in art history class pouring over artwork to find the symbolism! Here are a few things you will spot within the artwork: the colour green is the more obvious of the symbolism within the piece. Green is a colour that has always been associated with Ireland – it is also connected with paganism and life, fertility and rebirth. The swirls in the background are Celtic Spirals. Not only do they represent the journey from one’s outer body to the inner soul, but they also represent a connection with nature, evolution and more. Around her neck is a pendant called a Triqueta. This is also known as a Trinity Knot. It is a very common symbol in Celtic myths and legends. It has several meanings, one of which is that it represents the bond between mother/daughter and sister. It also relates to Mind, Body & Soul or Earth, Sea & Sky. She proudly wears her silver earring of the Emerald Isle to show her sense of self and pride for her culture. “SoulSister” has tattoos on her arms and biceps which I chose to put on her to represent the strong Celtic goddesses who themselves were tattooed with different symbolism depending on their nature. In doing my research about Celtic culture – I found out that women were part of an equal society, and enjoyed freedom and power, which is something I always like to incorporate (and emphasize) in my artwork.
So there you have it – a little insight into my head. “SoulSister” is available as an original, reproduction and greeting card. Feel free to contact me for more info. g.