Kefa Memeh ’22 combines a love of painting and color with a newfound passion for light in photography.
In this series of photographs, I synthesize my lifelong love of painting and color with my newfound passion for light in photography. By combining painting and photography, I explore how two artistic mediums can complement each other.
I have always been inspired by the colors and patterns of textiles, and how they reverberate rhythmically across fabric. In some photographs, I have stitched these textiles, in all their eccentricity and vibrance, onto a new canvas. All these elements collide in one photograph, sparking the audience’s interest in pattern, not only for what it provokes aesthetically, but also for what it means symbolically.
I can show who I am with my art, and that is why I love to incorporate Nigerian culture. The fabrics featured in these works are hand-sourced from local markets in Nigeria, my home country. These “ankara” wax prints, which were once used to identify the status of the wearer, are now, in contemporary times, intermixed in all types of art, clothing and design.
Painting should not be limited to the surface of a canvas. When I express it with my face and body, I am pushing beyond the conventional idea of what makeup is, as well as the expression of beauty. By merging or adapting extant ideas, I hope to illustrate the promise of creating something new.
Editor's note February 2023: Kefa's art was spotted in the home of Viola Davis on the cover of Architectural Digest.