Oil and Snakeskin On Linen, 66 x 81cm

Owais Haji is a Pakistani-born, Sydney-based fashion and textile designer. While his persona is bold and flamboyant, I loved capturing his quieter contemplative side. This is my favourite of the three portraits which I’ve done of Owais.

Aipysurus refers to the sea snake skin in the background. At the time that this portrait was painted, animal print was the only pattern which Owais had intentionally stayed away from and I thought it may be humorous to surround him by this design. This was the first time I’ve painting on snake skin. It presented a range of challenges, from finding a responsible supplier to preparing the skin so that the paint would properly adhere and appropriately fixing it to the mounted canvas. After lots of experimenting, I’m very happy with the final product.