Lewinale Havette, an Atlanta-based Liberian artist, gained knowledge of the socio-political and aesthetic intricacies of the world by growing up exposed to various places, cultures, and beliefs. Her art, like her life, elegantly debunk the historical power structure systems that had previously surrounded her.
Lewinale’s work, born at the crux of painting, collage, and photography, tells stories of matriarchal power, female sexuality, intercultural harmony, and African spirituality. She deliberately chooses to question ancient Eastern customs and resurrect her lost Liberian culture — one irrevocably changed by the spoils of civil war.
Through her practice, Lewinale explores her curiosity about her African origins, looking for answers in the life and legacy of her now-deceased grandmother, Rose. She seeks clarification into a broader story of lands left behind, into a reality inhabited by Rose, the last woman in her family to have lived in a traditional African village. In her work, the artist enthusiastically celebrates humanity’s common African ancestor — the Mitochondrial Eve — by channeling her past, Lewinale believes that in order to better understand her own identity, she needs to investigate her grandmother’s existence; the two women are intricately connected. While epitomizing Lewinale’s history and link to a common source, the matriarch also informs the artist’s current reality and incoming future.
Her visual work integrates her training in dance, music and visual arts–with her ongoing quest for knowledge through intellectual questioning of the liberal decadent sways of her adopted land and the legendary mythical authority of her native land. Herstory becomes history as memory and transcendence fission and geographical and time divisions disappear to leave space for a utopian place where all are empowered.
Lewinale’s devoted art practice yielded exhibitions with The Masur Museum of Art, The Room Art Gallery in Italy and Art Basel Miami, MINT Gallery, and UNICEF Next Generation in the U.S, as well as accolades from AJC, All Africa and Modern Luxury, among others.