‘My inspiration for this projects stems from the research I did for my dissertation thesis; a gendered perspective of skin bleaching. Coming to University, I began to realise the infatuation and great interest in skin tone amongst the African/Caribbean society. The term “yellow fever”, coined by the late Fela Kuti (Nigerian musician) suggests the orange/yellow tinged that most dark skinned bleachers achieve and is therefore compared to the illness jaundice.
In this project, as I also did within my dissertation, I wanted to understand gender identities within the common cultures/ sub- cultures that are known for skin bleaching. From previous research, some critics suggest that male bleachers are considered to be effeminate and I aimed to explore androgyny with the combination of street/urban wear that is popularised within these communities.
Although male bleachers are perceived quite feminine, female bleachers seem to become more female. The outcome is an over feminised woman- almost a pantomime of the female form. In being quite sexualised naturally, the use of bleaching as an addition to the heavy adornment should be considered too much, and yet this practise seems to work in attracting possible partners.
Artists that have truly influenced me include: Ebony Patterson- who looks at the glamour of male bleaching and Elen Gallegher – who breaks down the black female appearance. From this I explored the bleaching regime and the effects which inspired my prints, to break down the “bleached face” and investigate tone within fabric manipulation, which was influenced by the negative effects of skin bleaching. The outcome has been a journey for me and I believe that I have created a collection that portrays skin bleaching in a slightly humorous and abstract way.’