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Somaya Critchlow is a British artist whose figurative paintings of women explore facets of race, sex and culture through an instinctive, stream-of-consciousness process of image making. Working mostly on a small scale, her works depict bold, curvaceous and self-possessed female characters, of her own creation, that simultaneously combine and subvert the cultural expectations of race, gender and power in the history of portraiture. Imbued with dark, rich hues of browns, Paynes grey and purples, and using sensuous brushstrokes, her heroines emerge starkly against atmospheric backdrops of thinned oils evocative of classical European painting Velázquez, Rubens et al and David Lynchs hazy, seedy environs. They are self-reflective and personal, and at the same time commentary of the cultural, class and political dynamics of contemporary society.