Future Forwards – Raneece Buddan

Raneece Buddan Kalamkari and Akwete IV 2022.005.01

Future Forwards looks toward emerging and prominent Black artists in the Edmonton, Montréal, and Toronto communities to showcase diverse perspectives and exemplary skill. Read on below to learn about Raneece Buddan, one of 4 artists featured in the project!

Future Forwards artist4 Raneece Buddan

Raneece Buddan is a Jamaican artist who moved to Alberta in 2015. She completed her BFA in Art and Design with Distinction at the University of Alberta in 2020. In her work, she focuses on her cultural identity as a Jamaican woman of Afro and Indo-Caribbean ancestry. She shows the beautiful merging of these cultures as well as the bias and discomfort she felt around her hair and skin tone from childhood to her teens. This is depicted in her work by replacing her skin tone with fabrics meant to represent each ethnicity and incorporating synthetic hair. Her process is based on material exploration and finding figures within the wood grains and mounds of clay. Her primary mediums are oil painting, woodworking and ceramics.

This series of prints was inspired by Raneece’s new research on textiles in Nigeria and Southern India. Fabric is a major component in her work and how she chooses to explore and express my cultural identity. She felt it was time she learned more about her ancestry based on textiles in specific regions, how they’re made and how she may be able to incorporate them more authentically into her work. For now, she focused specifically on Akwete, a cloth woven in the Noloki town of Akwete in Nigeria and the Machilipatnam Kalamkari from Andhra Pradesh, Southern India, a block printed cloth with hand-painted intricate details. Her goal was to combine these two patterns as well as the techniques of the Kalamkari into one. She used silkscreen to translate the weavings of the Akwete and block printing and hand printing for the Kalamkari.

While creating these patterns her goal was not to copy the examples presented but, to be inspired by them to make her own fusion, a self-portrait. While researching the Akwete cloth she learnt it was important to not copy designs because they are believed to be from God, and it dies with the owner. She chose to do a more Akpuka (vibrant) pattern with the “geometric flower” and “v” patterns. For the Kalamkari border, she did a floral design focusing more on the process of carving the rubber blocks for printing, learning how to block print and hand painting the gold flowers. The process was difficult and a learning curve but necessary in elevating her practice and learning more about her ancestry and self. 

For this project, Raneece also hand-dyed cotton muslin to be even more involved in the process.

This programming is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.