Somaya Critchlow is a British artist whose work explores the portrayal of the self and the psychological aspect of a black female body through popular culture. Using the self-portrait as a starting point to explore a deeper reflection of iconography, self and imagination, Critchlow creates paintings of fictional characters set in imagined scenes that combine the autobiographical with critical observations of contemporary life through a classically inspired language of painting.

Working in different scales, Critchlow’s depictions of alluring, exaggerated, curvaceous female forms combine and subvert the culture expectations of race, gender and power in the history of portraiture. Her subjects are imbued with rich, dramatic brushstrokes, dark tones and sharp highlights that unveil open-ended circuitous narratives.

Somaya Critchlow (b.1993) lives and works in London. She received her BA in Painting at the University of Brighton before joining The Royal Drawing School in London, which she completed in 2017.

Her first upcoming solo show will be held at Efrain Lopez Projects, Chicago.