Kojo – A Watercolour Portrait by Maxine Friday

Black Skin

Maxine was trying to paint black skin using watercolours. She says she did not achieve what she wanted but liked the painting never the less. This painting is called Kojo, it is 50cm x 60cm and painted in watercolour. It was created in Berlin in 2013.

Kojo Watercolour portrait by Maxine Friday

She had painted a lot of self portraits but wanted a much blacker skin, so took an example out of a book on natives of Africa. She was moved by the beauty of these Africans and wanted to share their appeal. She is still on a quest to reveal the native beauty of blacked skinned people. The skin in this painting came out pale, it appeared like the spirits that she saw between sleep and wake in Africa.

Tracing African family

It was a trip to Africa, to Ghana in 1994, taking a sabbatical from her work as a lawyer to trace her family. It had been easy, she called the Ghanian embassy about price level there, as she didn’t know how long it would take to trace them. Not expecting anything from her silly question, “Do you know Emanuelle Sacky, who owns a gynaecological clinic in Tema?” The guy on the line said, “Yes, he’s a friend of mine.” And Maxine was given his phone number. Family traced!

Libation Ceremony

Once in Ghana, Maxine’s family held a libation ceremony that called up the spirits of her ancestors. A lot of chanting and incantations went on. That night, when she went to bed, the spirits flew down from the sky. There were about 7 or 8 just peering down at her. It was a very strong experience. During it, Maxine told herself, “don’t be afraid it is just my ancestors coming to see me.” She knew this instinctively. In the morning she told her family of the vision. She had not really understood what was going on during the libation ceremony. They had not told her as they thought it might scare her coming from a non believing country.
So when she told them, they said, “Yes of course they came.” They then explained what the ceremony had been about.

It only happened the once.

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