Peacock's Shadow


Peacock’s shadow comes from one of my earlier series of paintings on wood I did in my last term in college. I presented this painting along with 6 other paintings and 5 drawings in my very first solo exhibition. It was both an exciting and nerve-racking time for me because prior to this moment I had not shown my artwork publicly to anyone; not even to family and close friends. Looking back now, I could say that this specific painting was a reflection of how I really felt. Silly as it may sound now, I too was hiding behind my own beautiful shadow dressed in brilliant blues, greens, and yellows only to drape a cloth over me to protect myself. At the same time of having my first solo art exhibit, I made the big announcement to everyone in attendance that I would be starting my own company, “Afrocentric Keyy” and this exhibit was the grand introduction to a new chapter into entrepreneurship! You can imagine how I could have felt making such a big career move into a world I really only knew at surface value. But deep down inside I knew it would be the best move for me; it just felt right in every way. With the conclusion of college and entering into real adult life, I felt that it was the perfect time for me to start a new artist chapter as well!

Now rewinding back to the creation process and the thoughts that followed leading up to the big reveal. All of my fears, motivations, and dreams became more relevant to me as I created this piece, not only because of the meaning and representation but also the beauty and strength it carries. Traditionally the male peacock that is lavishly draped in brilliant colors and the female is covered in more muted shades of earth tone colors. The painted peacock still holds a strong reputation of the 2 sides to my artist story. Almost like the Ying and yang presence, both the peacock and the female figure come together in harmony to create a beautiful story that has yet to be fully finished.

The upfront forward-looking peacock representing the male presence and their dominance in the art world, stepping almost out of the artwork itself. At the very same time, the peacock suggests to move forward you see a female figure emerging from the backdrop of his draped feathers turned cloth. Coming into her own presence and removing herself from the shadows of the cloth that she once hides behind. She is a reflection of myself stepping out of the shadows of school and instructor lead course and into my own artist mold. As you look closer into the painting you can see that she’s not scared or timid but in fact, taking notes and studying what her next moves will be. In her gaze, she sees the endless possibilities, as well as, challenges she will soon face.

As I place myself in the female figure I paint I am motivated to create my own story, in a space where it seems to only appreciate the classic version of what an artist is and represents. I thrive off of creating a connection between artwork and audience, that can go beyond the basic foundation of art and dig deeper in meaning. I intend to have the viewer looking at this painting see these two different worlds working together in one fused image. Shedding light on two different worlds that work so beautifully together, but also shedding light on a story that hasn’t written its ending yet. Catching the story in the few moments after the beginning, and leaving the door open to allow the viewer to finish the rest.

At a crossroad of coming into her own truth and making her own pathway comes at the exact same time, the Peacock continues on his own journey. Just like the vibrant colors I painted I could see my own path being created for me. I can take the lessons I've learned thus far and use them to tell my own truth in my own unique way. Despite any lack of representation in both gender and race, I too can be as vibrant as the peacock I paint. Even now as I look back at this painting I still see a story being told and created as I grow in my artistry. Seeing Myself within the image as both the woman and the peacock, switching roles between the two coming out of the shadows to being the peacock walking proudly forward.

Kiarra ElliottComment