Portraits of Black Figures by Harmonia Rosales .
Ever since she began her art career, Rosales’s main artistic concern has been focused on black female empowerment in western culture. Her paintings depict and honor the African diaspora. The artist is entirely open to the ebb and flow of contemporary society which she seeks to reimagine in new forms of aesthetic beauty, snuggled somewhere between pure love and ideological counter-hegemony. As a young girl, the renaissance masters impeccable skill and composition fascinated her but she could never relate because they depicted primarily a white male hierarchy and the idealized subordinated woman immersed in Eurocentric conception of beauty. Her message is not to create an ideal or to simply copy, but rather to create a sense of harmony, a yin to the yang.
The black female bodies of her paintings is the memory of her ancestors expressed in a way to heal and promote self-love. In addition, the approach that nourish Rosales’s art are closely linked to her Multi-cultural Afro-Cuban background. The ethereal creations to which she gives birth on the canvas are a synonym of female empowerment and cultural acceptance, by which she has grappled with.
In Rosales’s universe, the Orishas represent physical manifestations of life’s healing tools. Let us set aside any religious association and focus on the history and meaning of each painting. There are elements that relate to everyone that not only empowers but provokes thought and conversation. Rosales’s figures are astounding in the hues of their skin and the often dark cast to the paintings because they separate you from physical reality to become lost in our own emotions. The resulting depiction is a world of female power, which largely transcends the two dimensional canvas.
To instill ethereal depth in her works, as the expression of her spiritual world, Rosales uses added blue and silver hues to the skin that creates a natural luminescent glow against an often contrasting background. The gilding of metals and rust techniques provides a unique balance to her composition, allowing the artist to introduce varying mixtures of textures to the canvas. The use of rust serves as the motif of moral decay in our society. Due to these interactions in which the figures are placed, the artist succeeds in creating an image of the ways contemporary society fluctuates. Rosales draws on the energy of living life as a woman of color, with its objectifications, which she then conveys through her work. Her subjects embody something within us all. They serve as conduits to an inner struggle within our society which the artist depicts using metaphorical crowns and deities. The art is and will always be to encourage sympathy, empathy, and empowerment.
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