Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Augustin Kassi.....Beauty Lies In The Hands Of He Who Is Willing To See.....
Yesterday, I stumbled across an article about an artist who created paintings of 'Big and Beautiful' African women. His name is Augustin Kassi and he lives in La Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa, right across the border from where I am from, Ghana. I actually shared the article and posted on my FB page. I think I want to talk about this some more. I want to discuss the topic honestly and from a place of authenticity.
I have never been slim. At my smallest, I was an American size 8/10 and this was after I had moved to California, had become obsessed with fitting into the smaller sizes that all my favorite designers made clothes in and also had become inspired by the healthy Californian lifestyle, and especially the influence of Yoga, which I love! So, before I became pregnant with my son, I was almost at my target size, which was a 6. I've never had the desire to be a size Zero..........
But then, I became pregnant, gained weight and I have not been able to lose all the 'baby fat'. To make it worse for me personally, I've always prided myself in having quite a flat stomach and a small waist, in proportion to my hips, I had never really been too worried about my weight (even though I know I've been 'dieting' all my adult life!). But post pregnancy, I've lost that. I've lost my center. And that is what causes me the most angst. Not only does that make me feel insecure about my body, but I even feel like I can't walk straight and stand tall because of my weakened stomach muscles.
It's been quite agonizing.
I have many many thoughts around the subject, which I will continue to share, but today, I would like to focus on the artist, Augustin Kassi.
He says he was inspired to start painting the 'Big and Beautiful' women after he witnessed a woman being asked to pay double on a bus ride because of her size. I think he's a Prince!
So, here's the million dollar question.
Who and what is Beautiful? And who determines that?
Yes, we say Africa has been bombarded with the influence of Western culture, I get that, but come over to the West and the women here are suffering even more than the ones in Africa!
From my 'fashion' point of view, in Africa, we have our 'cloth' and you can at least have something tailor made for you in whatever size you are, but shopping for clothes for the Plus size woman here is the most depressing experience! I have to say!
Again, let me not get lost here. Today, I would simply like to honor this Prince, this man who is standing up for Big and beautiful African women. As an African woman, an Artist, a Feminist and a Fashion Designer, I am truly inspired by him. He has taken a 'subject' who is particularly looked down upon and he's created something beautiful.
I really hope we all find something to be inspired by and something to learn from Augustin Kassi.
Definitely more to come on the subject!
For now, enjoy!