“What makes me unique as an artist is personal storytelling and the way I portray these big, bodied figures with tiny heads,” says Belgian-Congolese artist Bahati Simoens, whose work explores her African heritage. “I want people of colour to feel seen and envision themselves within my pieces. My paintings got a little more political with everything that happened in the world last year, but mostly I want to share joy and love,” says Bahati, who started painting four years ago as a form of self-reflection and meditation. “Growing up in a predominantly white environment made me feel even more connected to my African roots, so I created a fantasy world for myself in a way,” says the artist, who grew up in Burundi, Africa before moving to Belgium at the age of 17.
Bahati’s painting ‘Joy Comes in The Morning’, hand-picked by Selfridges for our ‘Good Nature’ campaign, depicts two cuddling figures amongst a tropical landscape. “They’re at a garden party on a warm Wednesday evening, most of the guests have already gone home and there’s slow music playing in the background. Why not dance a little longer and embrace each other’s warmth?” Bahati says of the scene, which features tweeting birds in the background. “I hope ‘Joy Comes in The Morning’ makes them daydream, wander and ease their mind,” says Bahati, who’s currently daydreaming of being beside the ocean, watching the calming waves from the shore in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.