Invoking the Divine Female, Delita Martin’s Combined-Media Portraits Embrace Self-Empowerment


“Blue Stars” (2020), aid printing, charcoal, acrylic, liquid gold leaf, ornamental papers, hand stitching. All photos © Delita Martin, shared with permission

“Duality is the concept that there are two realms inside (the) spirit world,” says Delita Martin, “one that’s seen and one that’s unseen.” This coupling is a grounding power for the artist as she practices an alchemy of spirit and aesthetics, coaxing dynamic figures from a mélange of patterns, supplies, and symbols.

Via a vivid physique of labor titled Conjure, Martin explores what it means to be self-empowered as a Black girl and embrace “the veilscape,” a spirit world during which the unseen, freedom from racism and sexism, transformation, and ancestral connection prevail. The artist refers to this house as an “intangible actuality” and returns to it time and again as she overlays her relief-printed portraits with charcoal, acrylic, gold leaf, and threaded particulars.


“Resting Place” (2020), charcoal, acrylic, ornamental papers, hand stitching

Whereas this conceptual layer stays all through all of Martin’s works, her huge use of symbols shifts with every portrait. She would possibly function a fowl mid-flight, as in “Flying (Feather Skirt),” for instance, to convey an unrestricted spirit, or a full flock certain to a topic’s shoulders as in “Feathers” to speak the expertise of being tethered to a different. Recurring in numerous kinds on clothes or backdrops, circles are equally evocative as they reference the connection between the divine female and the moon. Coloration, too, is emblematic. She shares:

Though I don’t subscribe to any explicit idea on shade, I very a lot imagine that shade causes a response and might join with the human spirit. For my very own functions, colours like pink and orange carry a fiery power, and blues are very calming and truly join extra carefully to the spirit world in my work than every other shade. I are likely to favor blues essentially the most in my work. Yellows and golds are what I think about out of doors colours that reference the earth, colours which are carefully associated to the waking world. Greens I join with nature and development. Purples/burgundy I affiliate with thriller and time.

Washes of acrylic or fragments of colourful patterns blur the excellence between physique and environment, emphasizing the co-existence of the bodily and religious worlds and reminding the viewer that a part of the self all the time stays invisible and hidden behind the veil.

Martin, who relies in Huffman, Texas, and represented by Galerie Myrtis, can have new portraits on view this month at Tiwani Up to date in London and is educating a printmaking course in Salzburg this July. Discover extra of Conjure and different works on her web site and Instagram.


Left: “Lady Sitting (Golden Stool)” (2020), aid printing, charcoal, acrylic, ornamental papers, hand stitching. Proper: “Claiming What Has Risen” (2020), aid printing, charcoal, cloth, ornamental papers, hand stitching, acrylic

“Feathers” (2020), charcoal, acrylic, aid printing, ornamental papers, liquid silver leaf, hand stitching

“Flying (Feather Skirt)” (2020), aid printing, charcoal, acrylic, cloth, ornamental papers, hand stitching

Left: “Choices” (2020), aid printing, charcoal, ornamental papers, hand stitching, acrylic, liquid gold leaf. Proper: “Mirrors and Sky” (2020), aid printing, charcoal, acrylic, ornamental papers, hand stitching

“The Moon Now Rises” (2020), aid printing, charcoal, acrylic, ornamental papers, hand stitching

Martin at work in her studio in Huffman, Texas

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