Philomena Francis is an art therapist and artist, born in London in 1969 to parents of Caribbean origin.
Her artwork explores the fluidity of identity, the complexity of the inner experience and the outer appearance, to explore the essence of black female identity and self-image. Her Brown Sugar Series (2004) makes use of this basic commodity as both a medium and reference to the black vernacular. Each of the three ‘sugar paintings’ depict a nude black woman who Francis has selected as subjects though interview.
In 2008, Iniva commissioned Philomena Francis to create an installation to occupy Rivington Place’s front window. The installation entitled mo’lasses III was created using piped black treacle which informed Francis’s enquiry around the black female body, and its contemporary representation and relationship to colonial history.
She has exhibited at The City Gallery, Leicester (2009), Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal (2008), The Woburn Gallery, London (2005) and The Castle, Northampton (2004).
She obtained her first degree in Applied Social Studies and Social Work (1991) from Lancashire Polytechnic and later gained a postgraduate diploma in Art Therapy (1995) from The University of Hertfordshire. She also gained a BA in Practice and Theory of Visual Arts from Chelsea College of Art (2006).
She lives and works in London.