Strength, acrylic on canvas, 100 cm x 85 cm, 2019
Harmony, acrylic on canvas, 75cm x 90cm, 2019
Memory 4, collage on canvas, 90cm x 85cm, 2019
Memory 5, collage on canvas, 100cm x 120cm, 2019
Untitled, acrylic on canvas, 120cm x 15cm, 2018
[Untitled], acrylic on canvas, 90cm x 110cm, 2018
The Controversial Truth 2, acrylic on canvas, 120cm x 100cm, 2018
Her Tranquil Gaze 3, acrylic on canvas, 40cm x 60cm, 2018
My work is about the strength of women in various moments in their daily lives. In a special way, my work acknowledges the different attributes I always see in my mother.
I use charcoal for drawing and acrylic paint on canvas, which I apply in the form of a wash. I use the wash as a way to mimic the constant wish that some women have to wash away certain experiences they have undergone in their lives.
I choose deliberately to wash the canvas and allow the paint to drip to create metaphors for women’s tears of pain and women’s tears of joy and success.
My choice of color is sepia or pink, to reflect time that is needed for healing and to portray the tensions of daily life.
Most of my portraits I draw as busts, to create an effect similar to that of ancient Roman and Greek statues, which, to me, signify pillars of strength and idealized eternal youth; they also connote, as do old photographs or aged and rusting material, the passage of time. While I draw inspiration from my figures’ strength, I seek not so much to fully idealize women as to present their real, everyday lives more truthfully.
I’m sensitive to the kinds of moments in women’s lives I seek to capture in my work. I use Johannesburg, South Africa, as a point of reference, because it is a cosmopolitan city that attracts not only people from neighboring African countries and people looking for work but also people from throughout the world whose social, political, and cultural backgrounds differ considerably. I especially see the strength of women, particularly those who are work-deprived, in Johannesburg’s multicultural, overpopulated environment.
About the Artist
Patrick Seruwu is from Kampala, Uganda. His mother raised him and his three sisters in tough circumstances, providing for them by being a street vendor. Forced to drop out of school to help out, Patrick Seruwu also became a street vendor on his arrival in Johannesburg, where he worked as a hair stylist, too.
Never intending to become an artist, Patrick Seruwu fell under the influence of his close friend, the late artist Benon Lutaaya. The more time Patrick Seruwu spent with Lutaaya, visiting him in his studio and attending art exhibitions, the more appealing a career in art became.
A self-taught working artist who has been painting and drawing for only the last two years, Patrick Seruwu has been well-received by the art community. His work has been featured in group exhibitions at the spring salon at Lizamore & Associates Gallery in Johannesburg; shown in exhibitions at corporate locations, such as Rand Merchant Bank and Absa Bank; and included in the Turbain Art Fair and the Investec Capetown Art Fair, both in South Africa.
The recipient of a 2019 Johannes Stegmann Mentorship Programme sponsored by Lizamore & Associates Gallery, where he holds a residency, Patrick Seruwu is creating work for a solo exhibition at the gallery in February 2020.
Hassan Isilow, “Migrant in South Africa Uses Art to Fight Women’s Abuse,” Anadolu Agency, April 16, 2019
“Patrick Seruwu: On Why Women Are a Mainstay is His Work,” Tha Bravado, January 17, 2019