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London Artist Paints Extraordinary Murals of Black Women

The “You are Enough” series of murals empowers black women in London

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Neequaye Dreph Dsane, also simply known under the mononym Dreph, is a London-based artist of Ghanaian descent. The artist has an Instagram following of 10.1K followers and is currently making headlines around the world with his latest project: creating larger-than-life-sized murals of the black women that he knows around London. He calls it the ‘You are Enough’ series.

The 9th Subject from my ‘You Are Enough’ series is artist and educator @linett_kamala. Linett is passionate about improving the lives of others, especially young people through education and the arts. She has worked tirelessly with organisations across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors on educational assignments and creative projects, particularly with the goal of providing enriching opportunities for disadvantaged young people. For over 26 years she has quietly influenced change within the U.K. education system helping staff and students achieve excellence in schools facing significant challenges. As a founding cohort member of The Future Leaders Headship programme in 2006 and speaker at numerous education events, she helped to shape and influence various government policies of the view that ‘every child’ is entitled to a quality education provision regardless of their background and with the right support can be helped to reach their full potential. . Her professional career in education begun in 1996 as a teacher of art and design and unusually for someone with a visual arts background in education, she became an education director for a multi-academy trust which at the time had over 5,000 children across its schools. Linett has gone on to train, mentor and inspire hundreds of head teachers, including many black and asian school leaders into their first senior leadership roles and headships. . In 2008 whilst working as a senior leader in a challenging school, Linett was diagnosed with depression. Through the support of her family, loved ones and health professionals she was able to return to the profession. However, she has kept her condition hidden for fear of being stigmatised by those within her profession. This is despite her being an advocate on the importance of wellbeing for students and staff within the education system, particularly for those in challenging circumstances. . Linett has bravely agreed to use this platform to share her struggles of not only working as a black female at the top of the education system in the U.K., but also one who lives with depression. . wall provision : Claptwn.blogspot.co.uk at @brixtonstreetgym

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The first painting from 'You Are Enough' series. Nana Yaa Sakyibea @sakyimary commonly known as Mary, is a fashion and furniture designer from Tema and now based in #Busua in the Western Region of Ghana. She makes beautiful clothes with a keen eye for detail, and says her work is not motivated by financial gain but simply to make people happy in the smallest possible way when they wear her clothes. She wants people to feel ‘at home’ in her clothes and thrives on “seeing peoples self esteem shoot from 10 to 100, based on what they are wearing “. Nana Yaa is an all round lover of the arts and wears many hats. She has managed #RockstonesOffice nighclub, worked as a bouncer, run a modeling agency, managed events and worked as a PA for #pidgenmusic. Where many on the continent aspire to migrate to Europe and the US as the way to ‘make it’, Nana Yaa takes the converse view maintaining that with the right mindset, you can “stay in the village in Africa and buy a home in Mayfair if you want to” … I was inspired by her passion to build and invest where she is. . #rememberhome #accra #Ghana #melanin #art #portrait #portraiture #art #melanin #painting #streetphotography #portraitpainting @biggerthanus_

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According to a channel 4 documentary featuring the artist, “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,”. The subjects in question come from a variety of backgrounds.

The sixth subject for my ‘You Are Enough’ series is Myvanwy Evans @Myvanwys who I met through my cousin @Uncle_Kof, and subsequently realised that we had many mutual friends. Myvanwy was raised in the 80's pre gentrification of working class Shoreditch. Incidentally she went to Uni a stones throw from where this mural was painted. She runs the cultural marketing agency Louder Than Words @ltwltd who engage international talent, communities and young people on high profile media campaigns for clients such as Tate, MTV and Mayor of London. Myvanwy was raised in a socialist family of political activists, which she says has influenced the focus of her work to raise the visibility of important youth and community programmes that positively impact lives. She also mentors young people, helping to steer their careers and individual life journeys. Her view is that if everyone mentored one young person there would be dramatically lower incidents of youth suicide and knife crime. What many that know Myvanwy are unaware of is that she is a trained fine artist, photographer and illustrator. These passions run deep, and her vision for the future is to dedicate more time to her art practice. #portraiture #portrait #art #melanin #painting #blackgirlmagic #afropunk #afropunklondon #naturalhair #streetphotography #printmaking #mentoring #portraitpainting #youarenough #rememberhome @biggerthanus_

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According to an instagram post of Dreph’s one subject is named Leyla and she “is a psychotherapist specialising in supporting survivors of sexual abuse. She is a leading international campaigner on female genital mutilation (FGM) and her passion is to empower women and girls. [she also] founded The Dahlia Project, the UK’s first specialist therapeutic service for FGM survivors”.

Another was was a portrait of a Black women who survived being sexually abused, and worked in a care home for the elderly. There is also a mural of a woman who “works as a holistic health consultant whilst studying psychosocial studies and vibrational medicine at Goldsmiths with the view to becoming a counsellor. She also works as Erykah Badu’s European PA and will be on the road with her this summer.”

(Finally got round to showing this to the Mrs) . The second subject from my ‘You Are Enough ‘ series is Mel Butcher. I initially met Mel at a cultural event in the mid 90's through a mutual friend and had been out of touch before recently reconnecting. Previously working in PR, she now works as an office manager in the gaming industry as well as raising two teenage children. She’s a humble woman who is very much a connector of people, always promoting and supporting businesses and initiatives in her community whilst never seeking the spotlight for herself. She is a beautiful soul who's spirit lights up any room. This portrait was painted In Croydon during the @ldn_calling_blog ‘Any colour you like’ paint jam, supported by @m_frenchi … #YouAreEnough @biggerthanus_

A post shared by Neequaye Dreph Dsane 🇬🇧 🇬🇭 (@dreph_) on

Dreph is an inspiration for capturing the beauty of not only the individuals, but there culture as  a whole inside his artwork.

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