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Folksoul – Hand-Drawn Pen & Ink Original

Judi Thomas sold her first artwork in her teens - a pen and ink rendering of the Zulu decoration of her native South Africa. Years later, Folksoul shows her thinking about that experience - and how the idea of 'black African' is used as a form of power.

In Folksoul, the man knows he's being looked at. He's highly decorated - like the tribal' art a tourist might buy. But he's calm, perhaps resigned. Almost as if he's there to be looked at - as if he's in a zoo. Only his eyes are alive - you can imagine them moving independent of the rest of the picture. Somewhere imprisoned within the intense decoration of his commodification these rich, calm eyes cast a sad, human experience.

As an anti-aparteid activist, Judi sharpened her art skills by defacing government posters. But her critique widened to the cultural appropriation that happens when white people position the black population as little more than the local 'colour'.

This is a unique, collectable piece by the artist; no prints or other reproductions have ever been produced.

  • Original hand-drawn pen & ink illustration
  • 420mm*594mm (A2)
  • Comes with free shipping and mount.

Listen to Judi talking about Folksoul here

by Contempori

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View more in our Judi Thomas Catalogue below

Judi Thomas
Judi Thomas blends stark imagery with complex detail, merging Art Nouveau with the surreal, often drawing parallels with the controversial Art Nouveau specialist: Aubrey Beardsley.

She has an avid collector base from the feminist-centred and invite-only parties that Judi curates. Her work is often confrontational, and her erotic work has seen her banned from Amazon and, at times, from Facebook.

“I do political art, I get banned from Amazon for my erotic colouring books, and my facebook gets shut down because there are nipples, so it’s not without confrontation.”

She’s regularly commissioned for individual portraits, and for her intimate, often erotic works.

A willingness to confront injustice has run through Judi’s life. South African-born, as a student, Judi was often arrested as part of the anti-aparteid movement in South Africa, prior to the release of Nelson Mandela.

Today the fetish scene of her home town in Brighton, UK, feeds into her art. “As a feminist, I find the whole fetish thing very interesting territory. I absolutely believe that the people have the strength to be revolting if they wanted to. I’m all for civil disobedience.”

“I find the human body beautiful,” says Judi, “in all its complexity, intricacy and mess. The human body one of the most stunning, organic machines in existence.”

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