On the women that make up this collection
Zipporah (Red) was the first one. She was the first name of the pack. I knew I wanted to draw somebody called that name. In the Bible, Zipporah was the wife of Moses, and daughter (adopted, I've always assumed) of Midianite Priest, Jethro. She's only mentioned a few times, but her name means 'Sparrow' or 'Little Bird'. It was then that I picked up a book by Marek E. Halter called 'Zipporah'. It was a fiction novel about Zipporah's life or how it might've gone. Of course, there was no real biblical basis, but I was instantly drawn to the her story of rejection. Throughout her life, her dark skin places her firmly in the bosom of an outsider. She's fierce and loyal but stubborn, hot tempered and very deeply vulnerable. In many ways, it was the first time that I saw myself in any of my illustrations. It's why she remains my favourite piece I've ever done.
"Throughout her life, her dark skin places her firmly in the bosom of an outsider."
As for Noa (Pink), the idea for her came much much later. I loved creating her, but for some reason she didn't quite stick. She felt too out of place compared to the others I'd illustrated. She was too playful, too young almost. It was then when I was randomly reading Numbers 27, that I came across this story about a man called Zelophehad who passed away, leaving five daughters behind. In the absence of a male heir, these five daughters fought and petitioned for their inheritance because there was no male to carry the inheritance. By fighting this traditional custom, and going against society's male grip on their destinies, these five women, and particularly Noa—who was the speaker refused to be robbed of what was rightfully theirs.
Ultimately, I created these characters based on women in the Bible whose stories I find most interesting. For me, being able a Christian and a feminist are so deeply intertwined. I discovered so much of myself, that is, being black, and being a woman when I converted to Christianity. I found me, my passions, and compassions in Him. It's a very odd thing to say in this climate we're currently in, but it's something I've never been more sure of.