If Only We Were Bulletproof, 2017, Yvonne Muinde, Oil on canvas, 36" x 24", $6,800

“Beauty without makeup” paintings by Yvonne Muinde

by Mélanie Fossourier

Does beauty have a color? In a world where cultural diversity is often synonymous with tension, can art be a privileged medium for dealing with racism? The paintings of Kenyan artist Yvonne Muinde have been replete with Vancouver’s Fazakas art gallery since September 7th.

The Fazakas Gallery is used to receiving the works of artists of different origins. Its director, Latiesha Fazakas, likes to “make different voices heard from different cultures, because with many countries that meet here in Vancouver, it is interesting that the art from these different cultures meets there too”.

This month, it is to the artist Yvonne Muinde that the gallery devotes an exhibition. The painter, born in Kenya in 1974, lived in Nairobi during her first eighteen years before going to study in the United States. She then lived in Australia and New Zealand before moving to Vancouver recently.

When she discovered Yvonne Muinde’s work in her Chinatown studio, Latiesha Fazakas wanted to expose everything: “I thought her art was very strong and had a powerful political message,” she recalls. “In a world so polarized, all white, all black, this work opened a wider discussion on the issue of race, culture, gender,” adds the director. Together, they chose ten paintings, portraits of women, painted over a long period, from 2003 to 2017, which, like pieces of a puzzle, “come to create a bubble to tell a story,” according to the wish of the artist.

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