The Coloured Girls

“Colours are beautiful, different and unique in their own right. Not one shade is the same. Each colour holds special vibratory and spiritual qualities — just like people,” says Sasha Sarago, a subject in my exhibition, The Coloured Girls.

My series, The Coloured Girls presents high-fashion styled portraits accompanied by a response from each participant to the question, what do the words Coloured Girl mean to you?

The girl’s individual responses feature alongside their portraits in the exhibition. I have powerfully addressed and brought to the fore, the chronic social issue of inequality by playfully painting the faces of the girls to blatantly accentuate their individuality. This technique demands viewers stop and study the subjects’ faces closely to really see the women in the photographs.

The Coloured Girls is inspired by a conversation I had with a model that was rejected by several agencies, despite being told they liked her look. One agency reportedly said, it was because they already had one of you. After querying, one of what? — The model was told they already had a black model on their books. This story shocked me. With 54 diverse countries in Africa, it had never occurred to me that anyone might consider there is only one type of African look.

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