A YOUNG artist who has been taking the industry by storm by challenging racial and gender inequality in the arts has started a residency at the Pyramid. Tina Ramos Ekongo is the latest creative practitioner to join forces with arts charity Culture Warrington and take up a residency in the Palmyra Square venue.

The 33-year-old artist began working with Culture Warrington after her successful entry into the 2020 Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival open competition. Her powerful work is already capturing the attention of fans on social media, in addition to visitors to Warrington Museum and Library’s pop-up base in Golden Square, where prints of her work are currently on sale.

Tina said: “Working in Pyramid is such a wonderful environment for me to creative, it’s so inspiring to be working closely with other artists.

Taking inspiration from the pioneering British Black Art Movement in the 1980s, Tina’s thought-provoking new project presents a ‘clash’ of cultural identity, reimagining British queens as her artistic heroines, with a splash of African royalty mixed in.

One of Tinas pieces

One of Tina's pieces

Tina, who is originally from Equatorial Guinea, explained: “The artists of the British Black Art Movement were a really important part of black feminism, which is a really big part of my work.

“In tribute to these pioneering women, I’m turning these artists into historical figures, painting each one as Elizabeth I, and then maybe different queens such as Elizabeth II or Queen Victoria. Being female and being black means you are probably going to have people saying ‘you’re not good enough’ or ‘you’re not able to’ and I bet people said that to these queens once too.

“Another important thing to consider as well is that during colonial times, these queens ruled over black women. I wanted to turn that on its head and make these black women the queens.”

Leah Biddle, culture manager for Culture Warrington, added: “The British Black Art Movement was a real trailblazer in the 80s but we are still so far away from achieving the equality and opportunities these inspiring women were calling for back then.

“However, we are so privileged to be working with another empowered, black, female artist who is bringing this critical campaign to a new generation.”