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ARTi Gallery

Original South African Art: Louise Wilkinson - Prima Donna

Original South African Art: Louise Wilkinson - Prima Donna

Regular price R 15,600.00 ZAR
Regular price Sale price R 15,600.00 ZAR
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- Artist: Louise Wilkinson

- Title: Prima Donna

- Size: 740 x 560 mm

- Medium: Hand embroidery with cotton yarn

- Price: R15,600

- Framed


I have chosen to reimagine the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. I wanted to add bright colours and a modern twist to this otherwise dull painting (in my opinion). I used cotton yarn on an African-inspired red patterned fabric. The red colour of the fabric is symbolic of the blood and life force of the feminine. The typical African pattern is an ode to the theory that all humans originated in Africa, and so in this piece, Mona Lisa ‘returns home’. I also added a heart tattoo with a banner on her chest. I chose to write ‘Prima Donna’ on the banner for a few reasons. Firstly, the literal meaning, ‘first lady’, is appropriate, as she is arguably the first female subject to garner so much attention and fascination across the globe. Secondly, the phrase, as we use it today, connotes a person who is egocentric, demands attention, and acts in a self-important manner. I believe that Mona Lisa fits the bill on all those accounts, with her wry smile and her demand for continued analysis and interpretation. Lastly, I didn’t want to use an English phrase, but still needed it to be recognizable. The fact that ‘prima donna’ is Italian seems to be a perfect fit for this Italian classic.  

Louise Wilkinson is a South African artist and AGAC 2023 Top 100 Finalist.

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