top of page

Jesse Akele

I was born in Brixton and raised in Bradford. Moving frequently as a child intensified my joy for people watching and understanding how the absorption of shared psychology, culture, rhythm, and even architecture creates patterns of identity. This interest led me to study at theatre school. My training and subsequent work as an actor has heavily influenced how I observe the world and interpret my subjects.

As a figurative painter, my work is concerned with investigating the inner life of my subjects and how this is moulded by experience. My subjects are very much rooted in my world and my approach to painting them is a response to the qualities I have observed them radiate. I enjoy magnifying what can be perceived to be fleeting, sometimes small, moments and making them epic.

I take inspiration from my own experiences, conversations and encounters. Colour is deeply important to me; I often find the essence of time and place to be located in the palette as well as providing an emotional undercurrent. The hot reds and burnt oranges in my recent paintings - 'Two Magpies' and 'Electric Avenue' - create veins within paintings that the spirit of Brixton market moves through. I use gestural marks to convey the rhythm within the piece as well as imprint a part of my physical identity in the image. My work also has a strong element of inward exploration, the paintings are nuanced with explorations of my place within the diaspora as women of mixed-race British/Jamaican heritage, as well scenes that are representative of elements of my personality and history.

bottom of page