“It takes courage to be exposed.”
“It Takes vulnerability to grow.”
“It takes willingness to create.”
Lily Brannon was born on 5 February 1992 in Johannesburg. From a young age she has been experimenting with all types of natural mediums to create with. She used anything from beetroot and spices in the kitchen to leaves, flowers and mud, crushing them on ceiling boards and newspaper.
Over the years Lily has explored more sophisticated mediums including: oil paint, ink and charcoal, although charcoal and red wine are her favourite mediums. Using these mediums enables Lily to create using that experimental playfulness that she had as a little girl. “Wine is layered in symbolism. It tells a story of transformation from the moment the farmer plants a vineyard right through to the glass in your hand – much like the transformation of charcoal.”
Most of her artworks explore the paradoxical meanings found in human existence. According to lily, “It is only when we come to terms with the complexity of life that we are permitted to surrender to creative expression, true freedom and growth.” This complex, yet delicate balance between joy and hardship is not only revealed in her art but also in the symbolism of her name: Lily (pureness) Brannon (sorrow). Sorrow and suffering play an integral part in bringing us closer to the pureness of our being to expose our true selves. Just as a vine has to be pruned and its fruit pressed and crushed to make a beautiful complex wine, so we as people are transformed by our hardships. “We learn to rise above our circumstances and gain wisdom, insight and strength.” This theme is an integral part of Lily’s own journey. Through her art she strives to be a voice for the underdog, the mistreated and the ones that fall through the cracks.
In her latest series, titled: “To be human,” Lily explores the similarities between different human experiences. Through this she strives to question the emphasis our society places on categorizing humans, especially in South Africa. Her artworks guide the audience through a process of acknowledging the concept of the “Other,” and reconciling that with the identity of the “self.” This will hopefully challenge and shift the perspective of the audience, helping to foster an understanding for the “other” and inspiring a change in human behaviour. How could we not change if we see that every “you” is just another “me”?
Lily currently resides in Cape Town where she is working on her career as an artist. She frequently hosts social art events and art classes to showcase her work and self-expression.