Self Portraits and Discovery
Raneece Buddan, an emerging interdisciplinary artist, is quickly making her mark. Born in Jamaica of an Afro-Caribbean mother and an Indo-Caribbean father her eye-catching art intertwines a mixture of both heritages. Working in 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional artforms using wood, oil paints and textiles, she creates herself anew with every piece. Raneece currently works as a communications manager for a local gallery. This allows her plenty of time to work in her downtown Edmonton Studio.
Jamaican curriculum allows students to focus more in specific areas than Canadian high schools. In grade 9, Raneece was able to align her education towards the visual arts, learning to sculpt in clay as well as paint with oils. With growing interest in the field, she decided to pursue a university degree. She immigrated to Canada in 2015 and finished her high school in Fort McMurray. At the same time, Raneece continued to develop her portfolio to enter the fine arts program at the University of Alberta. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in 2020 with Distinction.
Discrimination based on hair types has led to individuals with afro-textured hair to face societal consequences, while white people are able to appropriate these traditional hairstyles without repercussions1. Numerous hair textures and styles symbolize different aspects of identity for diverse cultures. Whether refraining from cutting hair, covering it, or styling it a certain way, society is quick to base worth for what they deem normal. Society now understands the damage of appropriation, and the impact that societal standards have on individuals2. Raneece’s use of synthetic hair adds another layer about herself. Being neither curly enough nor straight enough, Raneece’s hair never fit any cultural mold. Coming from a mixed background her hair was tied to her self- worth and the way she perceives herself. Her personal hair journey of self-love and acceptance is reflected in her work.
One large three-dimensional structure that features woodworking, textiles, and ceramics stands out. Entitled To Fit but to Stand Out the elements come together to create a vibrant and intricate piece. The wood appears to move fluidly, and it exposes spaces that give way to gorgeous textile. When Raneece is making figurative cut-outs, she tries to find the shape within the wood grain. Created at home during Covid, she struggled to assemble the different aspects of the installation without a proper workspace or tools, making this work that much more of an accomplishment.
Raneece’s pieces are all unique media combinations that she describes as self-portraits. Textiles replace skin colour on paintings and sculptures as links to her cultural background. They represent an important connection to her history, and objects she even admired growing up. Her sculpture Blooming Ancestry features an abstract human figure constructed of ceramic and plaster. Traditional and colourful textiles are placed on the unfinished parts of the figure as if giving us an internal view of identity. Raneece hopes to eventually start incorporating her own weaving into her art. Family has always been a big part of Raneece’s life, and her art is centers on intermingling her parent’s rich culture and history. While her art is mainly a journey of self discovery, she hopes that others can find a connection to it with the recognition of a symbol or textile.
- Chaves, A.M., & Bacharach, S. (2021). Hair Oppression and Appropriation. The British Journal of Aesthetics. https://doi-org.ezproxy/library.uvic.ca/10.1093/aesthj/ayab002
- Jacob, J. (2021, October 29). Hair power: Exploring the history and meaning of hairstyles across the globe. The Lovepost. https://www.thelovepost.global/decolonise-your-mind/photo-essays/hair-power-exploring-history-and-meaning-hairstyles-across-globe