Winnie Harlow

Medium: Graphite & Charcoal pencils on paper – 72 x 57cm


From the moment we were born and able to gauge an understanding about this physical world we live in, we have been conditioned to label all that we experience through our senses.

Conceptually this has proven to be beneficial as it allows humankind to rationalise the existence of form. On the other hand, I feel that developing an ability to label primarily is what causes the divide, separation and judgement of form even before it could be understood/experienced intuitively.

This is a portrait drawing of model – Winnie Harlow. She is known to the masses as a fashion model and also known as one of many who has Vitiligo.

Vitiligo is a condition in which skin loses its pigmentation in areas of the body. Through our conditioning we have given a label to this skin condition. A label which has made many who have the condition feel ‘different’ causing an effect emotionally and psychologically.

One of the reasons I felt inspired to draw a portrait of Winnie Harlow was not only to raise awareness to the skin condition she has but mostly because I was moved by how proudly she wore her skin.

From following her journey through the years it was beautiful to see how Winnie’s confidence wearing her skin on the platform she has as a model, has encouraged those with similar skin conditions to embrace the skin they are in.

I would like to thank photographer Dennis Leupold for capturing the image of Winnie I referenced most of this drawing from. I felt the image the photographer took reflected the embrace and acceptance Winnie Harlow has for her skin. And also beauty she effortlessly exudes from within and out.

Over 250 hours was spent completing this drawing with hundreds of photographic images and videos studied to get a feel for who she is. It was worth every second and I hope that this is felt in this portrait.



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