CRYSTAL YAYRA ANTHONY WAS BORN IN 1997 IN GHANA. SHE WORKS AND LIVES IN ACCRA.
Back in 2020 during the pandemics and her final year at university, Crystal Yayra Anthony decided to dedicate her life to something she loved: painting. A self-taught artist, she ended up finding a studio in Amoako Boafo’s space. Working there, allowed her to have feedbacks on her art, the use of colours and other advice from more experienced artists. At the same time, she did some research about the reception of African art on the international art scene, rock art and finger painting. Coming across these different topics, motivated her to find out how her ancestries used to do art. She approached then finger painting step by step, starting to work first on a small canvas. She does it in her own way, to pay a tribute to her ancestry. Her painting remains very personal, as a means to honour African art and its origins.
Openly feminist and imbued with body positivism, her work aims to change the gaze people have on Africans and women. It also deconstructs society’s clichés and expectations of gender-related behaviour in Ghana.
In its contemporary contradiction, the female body is both an object of fantasy and a subject of censorship. Nipples are veiled at the risk of being deleted by an algorithm. Also, as an Occidental social norm, bodies must be covered with clothing. Thus, the artist Crystal Yayra Anthony represents naked bodies as they are in their diversity and uniqueness. In opposition to an aesthetic seeking perfection, as conveyed by social networks and the media, her nude portraits show the reality of the flesh. They are not hiding anything instead presenting women as they are.
By depicting her characters in everyday situations, Crystal Yayra Anthony directly questions her viewers about their own biases. She scatters clues in her paintings to undo the myths and preconceived ideas around gender, femininity, motherhood and sexuality.
In this way, Crystal Yayra Anthony challenges society’s injunctions and proposes a model where everyone is free to accept their body, sexuality and feelings, without having to hide from them.