British-Ghanaian Artist Paints Murals Of Everyday, Inspirational Black Women Around London

We’re ALL about the increased representation of women of color and minorities, especially in the most visible public spaces. We’re living in an exciting time in history where digital and social media have become ways for these normally marginalized voices to be seen and heard more than ever before, and one artist is taking advantage of this.

British-Ghanaian artist Neequaye Dreph Dsane, otherwise known as Dreph, has been painting large mural of black women around London, paying homage to real life women he knows in his community. According to TheFader.com, the images are part of a series called ‘You Are Enough’, and highlights the lives and work of everyday women he wants to hold up as inspirational role models.

For those who aren’t based in London to see the murals in person, following him on Instagram will allow you to see images, videos and back stories about who the women are and why they are part of the painting series. Dreph was also featured in a Channel 4 short documentary about his work, where he explained his mission to make black women more visible in society.

“This project is about empowerment, it’s about female empowerment. All of the subjects are women that I know. They’re all normal women who do extraordinary things in the community,” he said.

On his website bio, Dreph is described as an artist presenting an alternative British narrative: “His murals and the accompanying backstories are a tribute to living unsung heroes and heroines, larger than life and in technicolor in our public spaces.”

While we are so accustomed to seeing celebrities and well-known public figures take up headline space on a regular basis, it is so important to be immersed with the stories of everyday people doing extraordinary things in the world, especially women of color who have been excluded from mainstream conversations throughout history.

Dreph has over 10,000 followers on Instagram where you can see that the ‘You Are Enough’ series has been written about in media outlets such as Huffpost, the Observer, Blavity, Konbini, the Guardian, and more.

The women highlighted in the series comprise a range of backgrounds and career paths including a charity worker, an educator, a youth worker, a designer, and one woman who works with survivors of sexual abuse. There are 9 women whose stories you can read more about on his website.

Artist and educator Linett Kamala has worked in the private, public and non-profit education world for 26 years, has helped to shape government policy around education, and has had a hand in training many black and Asian school leaders. She is currently training as an art psychotherapist in order to use art to enrich the wellbeing of adolescent girls.

Leyla Hussein is a leading international campaigner against female genital mutilation and also helps survivors of sexual abuse. Despite backlash from members of the Somali community for her advocacy, Leyla has been lauded for her efforts by many media outlets, has produced a BAFTA-nominated documentary, and has even worked with the British government to bring forth the issue of FGM into parliamentary debate.

Holly Diana May Oluwo is an East London native who shared with Dreph that her time working in aged care gave her a whole new perspective on outer beauty. “Outer beauty eventually fade. We are left mostly with only our memories, and when we pass, hopefully the legacy of the love we put in the world,” she said. Holly is also a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Myvanwy Evans is a friend of Dreph’s cousin Kofi, who runs a cultural marketing agency. Her clients include MTV and the Mayor of London, and outside of her work she is passionate about political activism and mentoring youth. Her view is that if everyone mentored one young person there would be dramatically lower incidents of youth suicide and knife crime.

We highly encourage you to follow Dreph on Instagram, read more about each of the women in the ‘You Are Enough’ series (where you can also find the location in London where the murals are), and watch the Channel 4 documentary below. You can also see his other artwork, featuring men and women of color from around the world, on his website.

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