Visual artist Christian Azolan celebrates underrepresented black girls in a new solo art exhibition at Fitzrovia Chapel 8th & 9th July

Christian Azolan, a British and London-based visual artist originally from Seychelles who specialises in original, digital, and figurative art, is presenting his first solo exhibition in London. His work is a fusion of photography, painting and gilding.

Titled ‘Little Black Girls’, the art exhibition will take place at Fitzrovia Chapel on 8th and 9th July 2022. The event is expected to be popular, with over 1,700 people already registering to attend.

Little Black Girls aims to promote black representation by demonstrating the importance of ethnicity and girls of colour entering womanhood. The collection features pieces on royalty, the power of balance and love, and religious symbolism.

Speaking about his collection, Azolan said: “I wanted to celebrate these black girls so that they can revisit the artwork in 20-30 years' time and see themselves, see their strength, persistence and beauty - a beauty that's from within, from themselves.”

He added: “Black women face insecurity, low pay, underemployment, unfair treatment, discrimination and racism. These girls should not have to grow up in a world where the odds are stacked against them based purely on their skin colour.

“Black girls need to see positive images of themselves, they need to feel empowered and they need to be treated fairly. If they are not seen, continue to be underrepresented and are not celebrated in all art forms in society, these girls will enter adulthood lacking self-identity, historical reference and self-worth.”

The most notable piece in the gallery is titled ‘Child Q’. A red and gold abstract piece represents a 15-year-old black girl, known as Child Q, who was mistreated by the police, school and larger community when being subjugated to a strip search. Azolan has included this piece to remind people that there are still instances of black children facing racial discrimination in the UK today.

Speaking about Child Q, Azolan said: “I felt sick, I read her words ‘…But I’m just a child. The main thing I need is space and time to understand what has happened to me,’ and it hit me. While I was in my studio painting and celebrating these young black girls in my art, this poor child was being stripped and searched by those who should have been protecting her.”

Azolan’s exhibition features 23 mixed media pieces that include photography, paint and 23ct gold. The artist is recognised for his gilding techniques, which involve applying thin gold leaf to photographed figures to emanate wealth, power, beauty, and prosperity. This technique complements the gold gilded ceiling of the chapel, making it seem as though the paintings are a permanent and intentional fixture.

Racism remains a topical issue today, with research by the TUC showing how black and ethnic minority women experience systemic, structural inequalities across the labour market. Azolan's work is an open letter to this that aims to address and draw light to the backdrop of continuing inequality.

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