Easily one of the few artists who make indigenous people the center of her work, Australian artist Naomi Dodds effortlessly captures attention with sharp contrasts of light and dark, roughness and spontaneous craftsmanship.
Employing line and dot painting, which abound throughout her work, she incites a rigorous tension between innocence and sophistication through works that posses a complex appeal and drama.
“The “Maasai Journey” (one of her projects) collection was painted on recycled canvases. The layers of paint make them touchable like brail art. Indeed, my authentic style of line and dot paintings is unique to indigenous artists globally”, says Naomi, who has been engaged in various projects in Kenya and Thailand.
With recycled canvases that result in thick layers of paint, she makes a highly successful foray into exotica – through a lacy mix of human figures, stripes and blotches alongside patches and patterns from African fabrics and jewelry.
She embellishes the figures with assorted colourful traditional Kenyan jewelry, which could be cues to spirituality while acting as a kind of stylized signature as they hang conspicuously on the necks and heads of most of her figures.
“My works posses an aura of texture and depth – undeniably, the dots stick out of the lines enabling one to feel the jewelry as well as the capacious layers of paint with his/her fingers”, adds Naomi, who is also the director of a community association known as United One Project.
The naïve-like works by Naomi equally reveal a quality of child-like wonder especially in the primary colours and wide-eyed / teeth poking human figures. Nevertheless, there is a hint of magic belying the pieces rigorous philosophical underpinnings.
By John Owoo