L’autre c’est moi
oil on linen
37 x 47.2 in.
The cultural diversity that has been ubiquitous in my education has developed my desire to discover, question, and understand the principle of Identity and the need we have to refer to a group—to belong socially to a whole. As a Franco-Malagasy woman, it recently became essential during my identity awareness to turn to the origins of my family. I use the concept of ethnicity, far from being obvious in Madagascar, as a source of inspiration in respect to diversity and inclusion, using painting as a means of expression and carrying emotions, with the ultimate goal of showing that Identity is no different from painting: a construction.
I approach notions of identity, culture, and perception by questioning the subjectivity of each person’s view of “one” reality. Our perception of the world and our place in society depend on a system of “reference” in which we evolve and place ourselves. The understanding of the latter can become blurred and difficult to grasp when one faces several reference systems. This is precisely what my work is based on. The choice of portrait is intimately linked to identity issues. The face is the first element one sees, and it subsequently raises multiple questions about an individual’s identity, ranging from ethnic traits to resemblance to family members, from the way one wears makeup and tattoos to socially or culturally inherited expressions. As Lydie Bodiou says, “If the skin is a map of the human face, it is best seen and read on the face.” Thus the face occupies a preponderant place in my work.
© Célia Rakotondrainy