|Touching up the queen.|
|Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy |
Self-portrait in Light
|Portraits of the queen--the good, the bad, the ugly (and the simply strange).|
|Portrait Study number one.|
Chinwe was born in Nigeria in 1952, the same year Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II. In 1975, a refugee from the Biafran War, she moved to England where she received a B.A. in graphic design. It wasn't until 1988 when she was thirty-six, that she started painting professionally. Most of her work has been figurative with portraits, landscapes, and black social history making up the bulk of her efforts. In 2001, as the queen neared her Golden Jubilee celebrating fifty years on the throne, Chinwe Chukwogo-Roy was chosen from a group of five by the Commonwealth Secretariate (an intergovernmental agency and central institution of the Commonwealth of Nations) to paint their offficial portrait of the queen. Even before the first sitting with Her Majesty, Chinwe was famous--and nervous.
|Portrait Study number two.|
To her surprise and dismay, the press was more interested in the fact that Chinwe was African and female than they were in the portrait (after the first hundred or so, the British press has become rather jaded on the subject of royal portraits, unless they're particularly bad). The artist did her homework. She did three, preliminary, color studies in oils, (one a head and shoulders image) as well as the final full-length portrait. The one distinctive trait they all bear in common is her use of color. African painting in general has a tendency toward vivid colors and there's no missing a certain sub-continent flavor to the final portrait especially. If the painting has a fault, it might be said that the brightly rendered sunset (or sunrise) and the background, featuring landmarks from former Commonwealth colonies, competes with the image of the queen herself.
|Portrait Study Number three.|
|Diaspora III, Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy,|
typical of her African roots.
|HRH Elizabeth II, 2002, Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy|