Kaizeea on creating art that uplifts Black women
Kaizeea, born Mélanie, is a self-taught artist based in Mauritius who celebrates the beauty of Black women through her digital paintings. Go beyond the prettiness of her illustrations and you will find art that carries a message of acceptance and pride.
Your drawings focus mainly on black women. Is that a deliberate choice?
Being a Black woman myself, it came naturally. I’m aware of the lack of inclusion in the arts world which is why I wanted to focus on the Black community. Right now, Black women are celebrating themselves ; I love being part f that movement.
The women in your drawings (Aya, Ayaka) have a gorgeous, very dark skin. Are you sensitive to the issues faced by dark-skinned women?
I am very sensitive to that because it’s something that I had to deal with myself, when I was younger. And in a society where the beauty ideal is very Eurocentric, I felt that women like me were not recognized as beautiful. Loving myself was a process. At first, I tried to hide, to blend in. I’m in a better place now, where I am fully myself.
Tell us more about the illustration titled Flexing My Complexion
I was inspired by the story of Kheris Rogers, a beautiful dark-skinned girl who was bullied because of her skin tone. She used those same stones that were thrown at her to build an empire. Now she's a model and even has a clothing line. That's what I am doing: using my experience to help others and remind them to love themselves.
How is the art scene like in Mauritius, where you are based? Do you think it’s easy being an artist in Mauritius? Are artistic / creative careers encouraged?
Mauritius is well-known for its perfect beaches and beautiful landscapes. It’s in nature that I find inspiration. I mostly draw portraits but they often have a spiritual touch. That’s what I find in nature. Being an artist is not easy. Sometimes you are at the height of your creativity; other times you can’t find inspiration. Being an artist is a risk. A risk that is worth taking.
I can see that there are more and more opportunities today for people looking to build a career in the arts, if they are willing to take a chance.
What goals do you have when it comes to your career as an illustrator?
I have many dreams and I’m working on them, step by step. For example, I’m planning to launch a clothing & apparels line. I also want to expand my skills and do things other than digital painting. I’ll try my hand at traditional art. As an artist, you have to evolve and keep on learning new techniques.