Skewed self reflection and worth expressed in charcoal

Saturday July 18 2020

Delusions by Gemini Vaghela. PHOTO | COURTESY


Gemini Vaghela likes to evaluate how people view themselves through her paintings. “We are always trying to be more like others instead of appreciating who we really are.”

She recently went back to using charcoal on canvas, after previously using it. Charcoal is often used, but Vaghela says she likes using this medium for her final work.

Her set of semi-realism charcoal illustrations called Delusions have circular and curvy shapes, producing a maze effect where the eye wanders languidly through the canvas. Thick lines graduate into grey and white for rich, contrasting tones, which is why Vaghela enjoys working in charcoal.

But, she admits that charcoal is a challenging medium to use because once it has set on the canvas it becomes harder to erase. “This means my strokes have to be accurate the first time around,” said Vaghela, who has a degree in Interactive Multimedia Technologies and also studied photography.

Delusions are part of her portfolio titled Decay that focuses on the deterioration of the world in terms of self-perspective. Both Delusions I and II feature graceful female figures to draw attention to the dilemma some women face to attain the world’s version of perfection. The women are faceless.

In Delusions II, the left side is a mirror image of the right side, suggesting the constant looking into a mirror to reaffirm one’s appearance.


Due to the current social restrictions in Nairobi and with little opportunity to exhibit, Vaghela lost some of her creative spirit. But she has overcome the slump and is looking forward to her next series related to displacement and migration, as well as art that spreads positivity during the current pandemic.