Experience African Culture and Folklore Through Paul Lewin’s Paintings

While oversea travels, and traveling in general, is still largely restricted, we look to find inspiration through other avenues. And though the benefits of experiencing other cultures firsthand are manifold, there’s much to be gained from secondhand experiences. Art can prove to be a great vehicle for exploration, with no actual legwork.

Take, for instance, Paul Lewin’s paintings. Immersed in African folklore, Lewin’s work serves as a teaching tool, introducing the viewer to African and Afro Caribbean cultures. Born in Jamaica, and now based in Oakland, CA, Lewin draws inspiration from his cultural upbringing.

“My mother told me about growing up in the old country in Jamaica,” he told Medium. “When it got dark the Grandparents would gather the children around outside to tell them Anansi stories — which are the most well know Jamaican and African folktales. I began feeling like I had found what I was looking for. It had just the right amount of mysticism, rituals, and the supernatural that I felt would work well with my style.”

Having moved to the U.S. with his family when he was 4-years-old, Lewin’s art helps bridge between the present and past, the real and the surreal, and the historical and the imagined, creating a fantastical landscape that we’re all invited to visit. Inspired by Afro Caribbean and African folklore, as well as nature and sci-fi, his paintings have a powerful impact.

And while we still can’t travel overseas, Lewin’s art can transport us elsewhere.