It’s an unusually sunny Sunday when I pull into the Sarah Lane studios in Hoxton, East London. Quiet, secluded and unassuming, the area on first impression makes for the ideal location for any recluse or artist to get away from the typical hustle and bustle of London’s East End. A council estate looms large and defiantly above the studio, perhaps one of the last few relics of an increasingly gentrified Hoxton, which has in recent years been heralded as the art district of East London. I find Tiffanie Delune waiting by the entrance of the studio, keys in one hand, and a rolled-up canvas underneath one arm. She cuts an angelic figure in an airy, white cotton dress with perforated detailing, which instantly conjures up memories of the elegant African women I used to see attending Pentecostal church services every Sunday in Peckham. Tiffanie is in high spirits as she shows me to her new, shared studio space. It has been a few months since she gave me a tour of her amazing debut exhibition, “Metamorphosis,” at Something Gallery, and she has been working prolifically ever since. The studio is spacious with natural lighting pouring south through a wide panoramic window, spotlighting several of Tiffanie’s works lined up against the studio walls. Tiffanie is gracious enough to show me some of the new pieces she is working on and explain the themes she is exploring and the significance they hold for her. One piece, in particular, catches my attention and ignites my imagination. It’s an abstract depiction of her father; bejeweled with large crystals, and bold, vivid colors that remind me of the stained-glass windows of a catholic church. Tiffanie alludes to the symbolism of this piece, speaking to the duality of her father’s Belgo-Congolese heritage and his upbringing. Indeed, several of Tiffanie’s works reveal aspects of her personal life, experiences and evolution. From her strained relationship with her mother depicted in striking pieces like “Monsters,” to her evocative exploration of femininity, and sexual liberation in works like “Lobsters and Desire.” Tiffanie’s work is raw, emotionally charged and vulnerable, but above all else, it is freeing and oddly therapeutic. Amid the conflict, dichotomies and sometimes aggressive energy that pulsates from her work, there is a sense of harmony and peace that comes with her acceptance and genuinely letting go. It’s as though through her cathartic expression, the viewer is invited to explore their innate demons and come to peace with their personal traumas and history. Impressed and intrigued by Tiffanie’s journey to date as an artist, and in light of her upcoming exhibition at 1:54 art fair represented by Ed Cross Fine Art, I ask her about what the road to this point in her career has been like. Tiffanie is upfront and open about her early grapples with the notion of being an artist, and finding herself and her purpose. Before moving to London from Paris in 2017, she had worked in the advertising industry, spent time working in Geneva and studied art history in Montreal before leaving to find her way, supporting herself through a string of odd jobs which afforded her the chance to perfect her now impeccable English. Her career as an artist began in earnest in 2018 after she received an unexpected invitation to become the first artist in residence at Gallery 16/16 in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. This opportunity would signal her first visit to the African continent, as well as prove to be the turning point in her fledgling career, resolving any doubts she had about being a serious artist with a bright future ahead of her. In the true spirit of universal law, once Tiffanie accepted her destiny greater opportunities were presented to her, culminating in her first UK solo exhibition, and her representation by Ed Cross Fine Art, one of the most reputable specialists and dealers in Contemporary African art in London. With a few months to go before 1:54 art fair, the mecca of Contemporary African art in London, if Tiffanie feels any pressure or is nervous, she certainly doesn’t show it. The anticipation and excitement are palpable as she indulges me in some of the pieces she is considering showing; all strong, bold works, that would wow the most astute art collector. It’s obvious she is ready. Ready to make a name for herself, ready to take the art industry by storm, and ready to walk in her purpose. I, for one, cannot wait to witness the rise of a star.
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