AboutPhilomena Francis creates astonishing installations based around treacle wall drawings. These drawings, hovering between figuration and abstraction, explore the experience of black women in contemporary society.
Her work draws on a variety of colonial and popular reference points to illustrate the ways in which the black female body is understood in the twenty-first century. Brown sugar has connotations of black female sexuality in popular culture and historically sugar, from which treacle is derived, played a vital economic role in the slave trade. The paints that she uses refer to the Georgian middle classes who drove the sugar industry.
Through these reference points she suggests the complexity and contradictions of black female identity in contemporary society. She is also interested in pushing beyond the traditions of drawing and painting by moving into a much more immediate, sensory realm. The treacle fills the space with its wonderful, tainted aroma and is powerfully evocative.