Light has always been associated with purity and good things. We crave light when we fear what we can’t see in the dark. Without the sun’s brightness and heat, we wouldn’t survive. In Christianity there are beings called Seraphims, sometimes referred to as “the burning ones”. They are the highest order of angelic beings who are associated with light and purity, because they’re the close beings that can be in the presence of God.
My idea for this painting was to highlight brown skin, using the power of light, that same light that angelic beings closest to God possess. There’s essentially no paintings of people who look like me or were created by me that I can connect with. That has always been bothersome to me. When I look at work from the Renaissance and Rococo time period (my favorite) I think of how beautiful and powerful those paintings are. The depth, the use of pastel colors with bright highlights, the beautiful angels and cherubs painting in the sky. There’s a sense of peace looking at that work. But I lack seeing myself in those pieces.
Seraph Illumination is part of a collection I am currently working on that will emphasize black and brown skin using inspiration from Renaissance and Rococo styles of work. I want Seraphic Illumination and future pieces to be work that young black and brown children 100 or 500 years after me can reflect on and see themselves in.