I would love to spend a day as one of the soulful and proud ladies that look out from Carla Kranendonk’s vivid pieces. Reclining on a background of vibrant patterns bursting from the canvas, they are surrounded by glittering treasures and expressions of femininity.
Carla is Dutch born but has always been inspired by West Africa and the Caribbean. I discovered her work at The Stephanie Hoppen Gallery on Walton Street in South Kensington, just around the corner from our design studio.
‘Reclining Woman’ which takes pride of place in Brumus Bar & Restaurant at Haymarket Hotel nearly knocked me off my feet. I love the visual language; the powerful woman is draped in jewels and handbags ‘to carry your identity, your secrets and your culture with you’.
The shoes, which are often featured in her works, are intricately embellished with beads and embroidery and evoke the prospect of a journey, independence and freedom. Kranendonk’s proud women are elevated by the colour and beauty of their surroundings. You cannot help but admire these psychedelic queens.
In The Whitby Bar in New York, ‘Untitled’ or ‘Lady Standing in a Red Skirt’ is a celebration of iconic black legends such as Malcolm X, Bob Marley, Obama, Muhammad Ali and many more influential figures including her own family members.
Inscribed on the painting is a reference to Accra the Capital of Ghana, where Carla Kranendonk’s husband is from. Taking centre stage is the strong independent lady in the red skirt. Red is the colour of extremes: passion, love, seduction, danger, anger and adventure. In this setting, the red complements the Pierre Frey banquette seat and leather slipper chairs, as you sip on a crimson Negroni of course!
Carla has even released a fabulously colourful fashion line inspired by her artworks with Alice + Olivia. We have no idea what this artist will do next. I really hope it will be a shoe collection!
On Tuesday 17th September, join us at Haymarket Hotel to hear from the artist in person. Carla Kranendonk will discuss her technique and the way she uses a travelogue of collected images and memories in her work during an ‘In Conversation’ with Firmdale Art Ambassador, Olivia Paterson. For tickets and to find out more CLICK HERE.