The nude in contemporary African art is subject to polarizing views and controversies. From when African people have been described as people of few clothes till now where lesser clothes spark controversy the nude has been at its epicenter.
Our various cultures see little wrong with a woman showing off her body as seen in our puberty rites. In the wake of missionary work which relegated traditional religion to idol worship the selfsame culture was labelled primitive and derogatory. Whatever right artists from the Renaissance and “civilized” European countries had to draw, paint and sculpt nudes is lost to me.
Recently a friend of my Judith modeled for a nude photo-shoot. This immediately sparked acts of rancor. She has been mainly a non conformist. The picture in itself is beautiful and demure. Its revealing nature dampened by the drapery and lighting.
Over all it speaks of innocence and femininity. Her eyes however betray this otherwise virginal look. Knowing her personally I’d say there’s a wanton woman roving behind them. Her glare and the set jaw speak of daring and hold little fear of the unknown. The disheveled hair suggests the wild nature of her persona. The darkness is symbolic of the wanton desires we hold as imperfect human beings.
As an artist in the making I would aptly say this is a masterpiece of a shot. Taking on a variety of meanings and judgment from a mainly confused people it stands for the deep lying discord our cultures and religious beliefs sow.
Nudism is not self gratifying but an avenue for showing the perfection of the human body as a gift of God and nature.