Tamara Natalie Madden is a Jamaican artist who has overcome obstacles to use her art to express her “vivid and buoyant” vision of life. For a photoshoot she did for Pangaea’s Garden, she wrote in a recent post, Beauty and the Beholder , “We live in a society where we are judged by our physical appearance, and anything other than the norm is unacceptable. Even in the world of natural beauty, many people still lean towards the traditional…I think that differences should be celebrated and that we should be more open and accepting to all those who don’t fall within societies standards of beauty.”
Similar to the reasons behind Kehinde Wiley‘s work, in her artwork, Madden takes her connections to “everyday folk – the working class, the unseen and unheard, the true warriors of our time” and turns images of them into “representations of nobility.” She feels that they are “kings, queens and warriors, in their own right, who never had a chance to shine, their austere appearance setting the tone for others to judge them.” Her inspirations for her work are Gustav Klimt and images from Egypt and West Africa. The symbolism in her art puts a spotlight on those who rarely receive one, and celebrates freedom, empowerment and Madden’s own triumph over her illness. Take a look at more of her work at her website (click her name) and blog.