Sikelela Owen is an artist who brings experiences that are usually behind closed doors out in the open. In Owen’s paintings, familial bonds providing a safe space are openly and generously depicted. Owen takes her figures from family photographs and stills, merging them with art historical references from the past and present. Whilst partly autobiographical, the works are not limited to realism. There is fair scope for alternative histories to be imagined and explored. Her depictions of Black figures illuminate those previously consigned to the shadows of art history.
Owen’s work is actively becoming a part of the zeitgeist and the important renaissance in the painting of Black figures. She has participated in solo exhibitions at James Freeman Gallery, London, HSBC Canada Place, London, and NAM Project, Milan, as well as exhibited in group shows at BEERS London and GESSO Artspace, Vienna.