PORTFOLIO – 35

THE MULTICULTURALISM OF LEWANILE  HAVETTE .

By Nii B. Andrews.

Lewanile’s life history to date has been filled with numerous varied cultural encounters. The locales have included West Africa, Europe and America; some experiences have been joyous others downright macabre and life threatening.

She emigrated with her family from her home country, Liberia, to Atlanta at the height of the Liberia civil war; at the time she was only 10 years old.

The trauma of being considered the “other” in the land of her birth was further complicated by the discrimination she faced on arriving in America.

On account of these experiences, Lewinale has embraced a life affirming ethos that she portrays in her art with militancy.

She is an unabashed, unapologetic multiculturalist.

Her work advocates a coming together of humanity to pool our talents in order not to distract from freedom and progress while respecting and celebrating our differences.

In an earlier series, she references the Mitochondrial Eve – the mother of all humanity – who the best science tells us originated in Africa.

She has also, while utilizing African religious motifs and baroque flourishes from early 17th century Europe – produced wonderfully detailed paintings that fuse multiple cultures and peoples.

“My multiculturalism painting often uses intimate pieces, depicting moments with people in cross-cultural relationships and the beauty which can be manifested,” she said. “And that no matter one race, all human beings are more common than different.”

Lewinale is clearly a product of the best ideals of the current age of diverse cultural experiences and cross cultural contact – an accurate rendition of the reality of humanity, in contradistinction to the frothy rants of the denialists and close minded.

“My goal is to highlight the beauty and growth that is created once these individuals come together. I want to paint not just me, but the realities of people and couples like me. I celebrate the cultures that make us unique, and ultimately bring us together”, she stated.

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