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Burnham artist creates series of paintings in response to Black Lives Matter movement

A Burnham artist has created a series of paintings depicting members of the black community in a bid to show that a person could be a ‘kaleidoscope of colours’ but ‘you can still see the person for who they are.’

Maralin Cottenham started her Black Lives Matter painting series following the death of George Floyd, who was killed in Minneapolis in May.

The series includes eight colourful contemporary abstract paintings created with watercolours, all carrying important messages.

Her first two paintings that she created and sold were ‘Girl with afro’, which carries the message 'we are one race, the human race' within her afro, and ‘Thinking Man’, which depicts Martin Luther King Jr’s quote ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere‘’, on a pair of glasses.

Maralin then went onto paint more influential black figures throughout history, including Nelson Mandela, former President Barack Obama, Idris Elba and Muhammad Ali, with each of the paintings carrying an important message.

As part of the series, she also painted the Statue of Liberty as a ‘reminder of the American freedom’ that it represents.

She said: “We were in that period of lockdown so I started painting more. The Black Lives Matter movement was on the news and it sort of struck something in me.”

She added: “The paintings have been painted in my own unique abstract style. The idea behind the array of colours on each face is to show that a person could be a kaleidoscope of colours, but the person is still the same, and you can still see the person for who they are.

“The strong use of colour in these paintings show how much colour enhances our world and that diversity of people is positive. The puzzle like pieces on the faces depict the various complexities or personalities that make us what we are, rather than the colour of our skin dictating this.”

She added: “I think that by combining the text with the art it seemed to convey a stronger message.”

Following this series, Maralin has started painting people’s pets using the same abstract style.

For more information or to commission work call Maralin on 07733283937, email or visit:

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