Paul Lewin

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Folkloric Portraits in Acrylic by Artist Paul Lewin Envision an Afrofuturistic World

September 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Convergence” (2022), acrylic on wood, 24 x 30 inches. All images © Paul Lewin, shared with permission

For Jamaica-born, Miami-based artist Paul Lewin, painting portraits of resilient, unafraid women is a way to process and manifest a lineage. “My work tells the story of me,” he says in a statement. “Each of my paintings is created in a process similar to dreaming. Meditation and dreams were very important tools in the creative process of my ancestors. I like to think of it as traveling inside to the place where my inspirations, emotions, genetic memory, and unconscious thoughts all collide.”

Working in neutral tones and colors evocative of the tropics, Lewin envisions figures within the speculative realm of Afrofuturism. Geometric motifs and symbols reference diasporic folklore and ritual and adorn the subjects’ faces and torsos. Hoods of fur, snake-like coils, and feathers shroud their bodies, using organic details to frame their silhouettes and convey the intrinsic connections between humanity and nature. Rendered on canvas or wood panel, each work is rooted in the transfer of energy and how legacies are passed through generations.

Prints, stickers, and other goods are available in Lewin’s shop. Visit Instagram for more of his works and glimpses into his process.

 

“Nala” (2022), acrylic on wood, 24 x 30 inches

“Habitation” (2022), acrylic on wood, 24 x 30 inches

Left: “Proxima Centauri” (2022), acrylic on wood, 24 x 30 inches. Right: “Ritual” (2022), acrylic on wood, 24 x 30 inches

“Nomad” (2022), acrylic on wood, 24 x 30 inches

“Nexus,” acrylic on wood cutout by Joe Koontz

Left: “Kianga” (2019), acrylic on canvas, 20 x 24 inches. Right: Cover art for “How Long till Black Future Month” (2021), acrylic on canvas, 20 x 24 inches

Lewin with his mural at UC Santa Cruz