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Tamara Natalie Madden

Tamara Natalie Madden was born in St. Andrew, Jamaica and raised in Manchester, Jamaica—a place that many refer to as the "bush."  It was during her childhood in Manchester that Madden was exposed to her first artistic influences. As an early reader, Tamara spent most of her days reading children's books and found herself enthralled by the colorful illustrations. Her uncles, who were Rastafarians, played an important role in her artistic development as well. At age 5, she remembers seeing pencil drawings that her uncle created. She was fascinated and remembers trying to understand how he could create something from nothing. Her uncles were also amazing sculptors, sculpting beautiful carvings from scrap wood. In that same year her uncle Carl taught her how to sharpen her pencils with a machete. From that point on, she decided that she would be an artist.

"Born and raised on the beautiful island of Jamaica, I am inescapably influenced and inspired by vivid memories of the island and it's inhabitants. Not unlike the legacy of struggle many rural Jamaicans inherit, the struggle of everyday American Black folk persists. As an artist, I feel compelled to paint evocative imagery reminiscent of the
descendants of the African Diaspora who reside and survive in the communities of Jamaica and abroad. By painting socially realistic subject matter, I hope to raise my viewers' consciousness of the plight of the everyday folk, everyday survivors."

In 1997, Tamara was diagnosed with a rare genetic kidney disease called IGA Nephropathy. Over the next few years she would watch her body deteriorate while she tried to maintain sanity amidst all of the toxins collecting in her body. In order to maintain some semblance of normalcy, she began to create again. In 2000, Tamara took a trip home to Jamaica in hopes of reuniting with family and finding a long lost brother. She had no idea that the trip would save her life. Her brother, who she had not seen since she was six, offered his kidney to her upon seeing the condition that she was in. This amazing offer was consummated in 2001 with Tamara undergoing a successful kidney transplant. That year she participated in her first art exhibition, making good on the promise that she had made to herself long ago to become a professional fine artist.

"My current medium of choice is acrylic paint, though; I will use a variety of media to achieve my creative goals. Because I paint frequently and rapidly, it is imperative that the paint dries quickly enough for me to layer colors and complete pieces, acrylic paint allows me to do that. My palette is warm and the bold splashes and strokes of color in ambiguous landscape settings, hopefully, add to the notion of memory in these paintings. I am driven to create by an uncontrollable urge to manifest these images that are constantly running through my mind. I hope to evoke a sense of warmth, understanding, and memory when I create. My work is
progressive. I truly enjoy being able to paint what I feel."

Tamara uses self-developed drawing and painting processes to create, however she credits her mentors and influences for her artistic growth. Her mentors include Ammar Nsoroma, Evelyn Patricia Terry, Della Wells, Charly Palmer and Kevin A. Williams (WAK). Their knowledge, support and belief in her talent have encouraged her to become an expansive and prolific artist. She creates in remembrance of everyday survivors and her work is heavily influenced by her vivid memories of growing up in rural Jamaica. Tamara is also intrigued by the beauty and innocence of children and paints them often. In addition, she has recently delved into abstraction, welcoming the opportunity to indulge her love for color and texture.

" My art is a reflection of my personality—vivid and buoyant."
                         – Tamara Natalie Madden

View Tamara's Art