Global Citizen

Stunning Paintings of Black Women Are Popping Up All Over London
“This project is about empowerment. It’s about female empowerment.”

By Phineas Rueckert
Brought to you by: CHIME FOR CHANGE

Around the world, street artists use walls, rooftops, and sewer grates as their canvas, often to tell a story or relate a message that needs to be told.
These messages can be obliquely political, like Banksy’s, or cryptic, like Invader’s. And sometimes, they are about the beauty that can be found in ordinary, everyday people.
That’s the premise of street artist Neequaye Dreph’s series of paintings of various black women living in London. Dreph’s paintings, done with colorful spraypaints, capture the lives of “normal women who do extraordinary things in the community,” according to the artist, who spoke with Channel 4 News.
Called “You Are Enough,” the series features the artist’s own friends and family members — all of whom are women of color.
There is Linett Kamala, an artist and educator who suffers from depression; Leyla Hussein, the founder of The Dahlia Project, which works with girls who have suffered female genital mutilation (FGM); and Mimi Fresh, a health consultant who has doubled as an Afropunk DJ.

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“At this moment in time I’m celebrating black women,” Dreph told Channel 4. “That’s the community I’m from and I don’t think their stories are told enough. I’m not waiting for anybody to tell our story, I’m telling our story by myself.”
Dreph’s first mural appeared in the streets of London in late January. Since then, the artist has painted another eight faces, with the tenth and last still to be unveiled.
His artworks have been met with enthusiasm by passersby and portrait subjects alike:

“This project is about empowerment,” Dreph said in the interview. “It’s about female empowerment. If we can just remember that we are enough, then I think that can go a long way.”
Check out some of Dreph’s other murals