Overground Online
Overground Online

Exhibition Hat-Trick for Essex Painter Adelaide Damoah

Self-taught painter Adelaide Damoah is taking Britain’s contemporary art scene by storm, following a string of successful, independent exhibitions.

London-born Damoah, 31, decided to take art more seriously after being diagnosed with Endometriosis in 2000.

Damoah first hit the headlines in 2006 with the launch of her controversial collection Black Brits.

The paintings depict iconic figures such as David Beckham and Trevor McDonald, but with different skin colours. The images evoked a public and media debate surrounding race and success.

Two years later, she launched Black Lipstick, an exhibition featuring a series of raunchy self-portraits revealing her ‘dominant sexual side.’

The collection was deemed ‘too sexually explicit’ to be shown at London’s Bernie Grant Centre for more than one night.

Supermodels, her latest work, is inspired by the death of Brazilian supermodel Anna Carolina Reston, who died from anorexia-related complications in 2006.

The exhibition features 18 disfigured paintings of well-known celebrities, as reported in Overgroundonline last week. Here, Damoah, a former biologist, talks about her work, illness and international plans.

When were you diagnosed with Endometriosis and how does it affect you?

In 2000 aged 24, after suffering with pain since I was about 16. There’s currently no cure. It is a chronic condition so it’s managed with medication, diet and lifestyle changes.

How did you learn to paint?

I studied GCSE art and painted as a hobby after I left school. I continued painting through university and working life, using mainly water colour. I studied books on different techniques and practiced every day.

Black Brits raised your profile considerably. Why was the exhibition so popular?

We’ve become obsessed with celebrity culture and some of these people have become almost like gods to us. The switch in skin colour was interesting because it made you think about celebrities in a different way and ask questions, such as ‘where would these icons be if their skin colour were reversed?’

Tell us about your latest exhibition, Supermodels…

Supermodels was inspired by the death of Anna Carolina Reston, a model who died from anorexia complications in 2006. This tragedy, along with the death of another model, Louisel Ramos, sparked the size zero debate. Also, there’s been a lot of talk about the lack of diversity in the fashion industry. I suppose you could see the exhibition as social commentary. I wasn’t aiming to force an opinion, merely to get people to think, discuss and debate.

What can we expect from you next year?

I have an exhibition called Reflections on Love showing in Denmark in September 2009. Watch this space…

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