Self Portrait

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2007, Black and White pastel on coloured paper, 32.2 x 25 cm

In this self portrait study, Phillip Butah has worked with pastel on a coloured paper, which has been carefully selected to give just the right warm tone. He has drawn his own face looking down at it from the side.

When I first saw this picture it reminded me of Old Master drawings made as a preparatory studies for religious paintings, with the subject looking as though he is at prayer. The artist told me that, in fact, it shows him drawing in his studio and singing to himself! But there is certainly a devotional feel about this image.

This is more than just a picture about accuracy and detail of visual appearance. It is about something much deeper and heartfelt. It expresses sensitivity of feeling. The eyes and the mouth are superbly drawn. I particularly like the eyelashes highlighted against the light.

It seems to me that Phillip Butah is an artist who draws his silent wonder at the uniqueness of every individual. You get the feeling that though there are billions of us on this planet, Phillip would find each of us an interesting subject to draw, not just once, but again and again.

Phillip 05