Everlyn Nicodemus’ work centres on personal and cultural trauma, as well as the role art can play in healing. Additionally, her research and curatorial interests focus on the history of Modern African Art. Nicodemus' life has been marked by movement, which she documents in her writing and art practice. Relocating across Europe to Sweden, France, and Belgium before finally settling in the UK, her experience of racism and cultural trauma has prompted the creation of a body of work that includes paintings, collaged books, mixed-media assemblages and poems. Throughout her travels she has taken an active involvement in community life, notably giving voice to marginalised women to make visible their shared traumas and experiences.
Her Silent Strength series was executed between 1989 and 1990 and encompasses approximately 80 artworks, each of which addresses the triumph of the human spirit over suffering. Their distinct palette of black, amber, rust and vermillion suggest a night-time scene and the orange glow of streetlights. They feature women, often in pairs, and self-portraits of the artist. Recovering at the time from an emotional breakdown, these paintings are a literal embodiment of her reality – in her home recovering. Windows are also a consistent feature of these works, seen represented as framed crosses. In Silent Strength 36, 1990, a faceless figure dominates the space, a window located to the right of the body. However isolated in their environments, Nicodemus aims to ensure that the subject maintains a certain humility and forbearance.
- Artwork Details: 70 x 80cm
- Material description: Oil on canvas
- Credit line: © the artist. Image courtesy of the artist and Richard Saltoun, London
- Medium: Painting
- Accession number: ACC32/2021