Portalis Collaborator Interview – Anthonia Ndukauba

What influences did you draw on for this project?

I was influenced by the visit to City of Caves, which was my first time visiting a cave. After that, I became more aware of articles, animations and films that featured caves. The animation ‘Ice Age’ produced by Blue Sky Studios, and the Netflix series, ‘Dark’ gave me further insight into the way caves are represented and what they can symbolise. Without intentionally seeking these things out, they found me, and I paid attention to details.

What processes did you use in your work?

To begin, I textured my canvas to create a surface similar to that of a cave wall. Then I used acrylic paint to suggest the original colours I intended for it. However, I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome, so applied oil colours, which slowed my process down somewhat, but I really enjoyed taking breaks and coming back to it. Although I was frustrated, as this wasn’t my style of painting, I still fed it with compassion, patience, time and commitment.

Anthony smiling in front of a painting

Did you try new approaches for this exhibition that led to new discoveries?

Yes, this is the first time I am consciously using modelling paste on my canvas. Because of its application and the unknown end result, I wasn’t entirely sure how it would look, but I trusted my process.

What feelings or meanings do you imagine your work conveys?

The feeling of home, sanctuary, a safe haven and a sense of mystery.

Anthonia applying paint to a canvas with a brush

What are you hoping to convey in the title of your work?

The Dwellers for me, implies evidence of living, a place where early humans dwelled. This title also hints at the beginnings of the evolution towards the extreme of modern human dwelling in castles and mansions.

How does your work for Portalis relate to your past work?

Previously, my work has been figurative, so with this project I challenged myself to paint a landscape. I responded to Portalis themes by exploring new elements of art and design and staying open minded. I took inspiration from the coincidental discoveries I came across in film and television, and these ideas help guide the process.

Will this project influence some aspect of your future practice? If so, what and how?

Yes, I am thinking of creating more landscapes and infusing my figures into them, thereby creating a relationship between figures and landscapes or seascapes. I see painting as a download of my intuition and imagination, and I hope to explore this also in future projects.

a painting of a cave

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