My Belles treat the key issues surrounding gender and human rights, providing an opportunity to unmask stereotypical representations of black female bodies in the context of the artist’s universal concept of the ‘belle dancer’. It unearths the challenges faced by black Caribbean women, women of colour and how they navigate life. The creative discourse in the ‘Black Venus’ work challenges cultural and gendered expectations of modern day black women, seen as strong matriarchs and bearers of life, deified on one hand, yet culturally treated as less amongst their peers of other races. These prejudices and imbalanced comparisons are insidious and silent, yet emotionally loud. In spite of the tattered tapestry of her past, she continues to toil and contribute, yet societal acknowledgement of her historical handicaps is hidden; in the household and in the boardroom, her voice often remains mute. Raising this disparity validates the legitimate struggle felt by so many.
The Black Venus emerges as a dancing belle, symbolic of the Belle Dancer who seamlessly and elegantly glides through the rigors of life in an almost musical performance, championing her way through the past humiliations, etched in her flamboyant, colourful gowns. She emerges as a resilient, stronger version of herself, hands outreached, embracing the world. This version of Venus is emblazoned with the fortitude of her ancestors, propelling her toward the light of success.