Art student designs Equality and Diversity poster

20 March 2019

Natalia Kusi has designed Ashton Sixth Form College’s brand new Equality and Diversity poster. Her poster is an original oil painting representing the sense of growth individuals feel in becoming more comfortable in their own skin. Natalia’s poster also embodies her family’s personal journey.

At Ashton Natalia studies Fine Art, Biology and Chemistry. It is in her Fine Art classes where she is able to express herself creatively and this particular painting was Natalia’s final piece towards her Fine Art A-Level. Natalia completed her high school education at Denton Community College. 

The poster features three women of different ages. Each woman represents a different stage of their life and therefore a different stage of accepting their identity. Natalia has chosen to include portraits of her younger sister, herself and her mother. 

Natalia was born in the Netherlands and lived there for three years before moving to Ghana in West Africa for around six months. It was then her family moved to London for two years before settling in Manchester. Despite moving around, Natalia’s mother held strongly to the Ghanaian culture they experienced in Africa. She was extremely proud of her background and remains so. Natalia commented on the African headscarves she remembers her mother wearing when she was younger,

“She has loads of them in different colours and patterns. I always remember my mother wearing her African headscarf. At Parent’s Evenings in primary school I used to get embarrassed by them. I went to Corrie Primary School and was the only black girl in my school. My mum has never been embarrassed of who she is. Now I understand.”

Her younger sister depicted in the bottom left of the painting represents her previous struggles. The chains symbolise a feeling of limitation and being trapped by your own identity. The younger woman is less confident and unsure. Natalia’s self-portrait is positioned in the middle of the poster in a transitioning state. She feels more in control and defiant than her younger self.

The yellow flowers through the middle of the painting represent this journey. The flowers signify a blossoming of the young woman in becoming her own. It is the realisation that it is better to be yourself and to accept who you are. 

From start to finish, the piece took around four weeks to create over the Christmas period and was a culmination of Natalia’s various development pieces. In the run up to her final piece, Natalia perfected her skills and her development pieces include portraits of her family members as well as self-portraits on different mediums. Her chosen topic of diversity led her to create the piece that has been chosen for the Equality and Diversity poster. 

Robert Murray-Green, Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator and Head of Chemistry said,

"Equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of everything we aim for as a college. Giving students the freedom to express their diversity is crucial to us and it's something we are very proud to promote through all aspects of college life. Natalia's piece of art is an excellent celebration of diversity and we are incredibly proud of her. We look forward to releasing more student designed posters celebrating Equality and Diversity at the college over the next few months."

The poster of Natalia’s work is proudly on display across the college. She commented on how her friends keep mentioning they have seen her work in different places. Natalia has also shared her poster with her mother who loves it and its message. 

After completing her A-Levels this academic year, Natalia will progress on to her Foundation Year in Art and Design at Ashton. She will use this year to focus her artistic passions and expand her skills before progressing on to a degree in Fine Art. 

equality and diversity, Fine Art, art and design, chemistry