James Chappell by Glory Samjolly. Painting Our Past, English Heritage

As a figurative painter, Afro-Caribbean and British citizen at birth, I assess ethnic minority identities in the western world by creating iconic narratives through my portraiture.
Living in London has taught me to use ethnic isolation as a platform of distinction rather than a victim collective, and to understand other artists whom have felt non-British because of their ethnicity. Painting is the bridge that transforms my thoughts into visual action against misrepresentation. Each painting has a voice of its own; they ask questions that must be answered. Art history is a critical subject for me, because not long ago I realised that ethnic minority artists find themselves underrepresented or majorly mis-represented in European portraiture, hence their disinterest in the subject. Before a painting of mine reaches its finished form, it requires investigation into my model, and their stance in society. The women I paint are artists, business owners and intellectuals sharing their stories by inserting themselves into the narrative of European art history. I want Europe’s diverse history to create a harmony between ethnic minorities and majorities in the gallery space, with the common denominator of healthy nationalism.