I am firstly a student not only of an institution but in all aspects of life. For me, artists who have come before me have engaged with different subjects, some similar to those that also strike my interest. It is the engagement that differs, as the context is not the same.
Since being introduced to the avant-garde’s theory of reference, deference and difference, I have come to realise that there are artists who have done what I had intended to do, and thus my job becomes to find the gaps which these artists may have not been able to fill or to develop a perspective that is relevant to modern issues and views within our society.
Some of my favourite artists, and with whom I constantly engage with include Caravaggio – who painted the most beautiful men in my opinion, Henri Rousseau – who allowed the mind to travel without the body moving an inch. Kerry James Marshall – who has dignified the imagery of the Black man, Njideka Akunyili Crosby – who is very meticulous with her detail and is very intentional in her works. I consider these artists as virtual mentors.