London Artist’s Breathtaking Street Murals Let Black Women Know They Are Appreciated

Through his “You Are Enough” series, Dreph said he hopes to pay tribute to ordinary Black women who are doing extraordinary things. (Image courtesy of Instagram)

With the sweep of a brush stroke, London-based artist Neequaye Dreph Dsane, better known as Dreph, is hoping to bring new visibility to the everyday Black woman by painting beautifully hued murals of his most inspirational female friends across the city.

Painted onto buildings in Soho and various spots in the east end of the bustling city, the vibrant murals are part of Dreph’s “You Are Enough” project, which is aimed at honoring ordinary women doing extraordinary things in the community. Speaking to Channel 4 News, the 43-year-old artist said he paints the women he knows from real life in an effort to make Black women more visible in everyday society.

“At this moment in time, I’m celebrating Black women. That’s the community I’m from,” Dreph said in a short documentary. “I don’t think their stories are told enough. And I’m not waiting for anyone to tell our story; I’m telling our story by myself. I just take my cans, take my ladder, find a wall and do my paintings.

“For me, this project is about empowerment,” he added. “It’s about female empowerment.”

Some of the women highlighted in Dreph’s series include a health consultant, youth mentors, educators and home care workers, just to name a few.

Check out some of his work below:

(Finally got round to showing this to the Mrs) . The second subject from my ‘You Are Enough ‘ series is Mel Butcher. I initially met Mel at a cultural event in the mid 90's through a mutual friend and had been out of touch before recently reconnecting. Previously working in PR, she now works as an office manager in the gaming industry as well as raising two teenage children. She’s a humble woman who is very much a connector of people, always promoting and supporting businesses and initiatives in her community whilst never seeking the spotlight for herself. She is a beautiful soul who's spirit lights up any room. This portrait was painted In Croydon during the @ldn_calling_blog ‘Any colour you like’ paint jam, supported by @m_frenchi … #YouAreEnough @biggerthanus_

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The 9th Subject from my ‘You Are Enough’ series is artist and educator @linett_kamala. Linett is passionate about improving the lives of others, especially young people through education and the arts. She has worked tirelessly with organisations across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors on educational assignments and creative projects, particularly with the goal of providing enriching opportunities for disadvantaged young people. For over 26 years she has quietly influenced change within the U.K. education system helping staff and students achieve excellence in schools facing significant challenges. As a founding cohort member of The Future Leaders Headship programme in 2006 and speaker at numerous education events, she helped to shape and influence various government policies of the view that ‘every child’ is entitled to a quality education provision regardless of their background and with the right support can be helped to reach their full potential. . Her professional career in education begun in 1996 as a teacher of art and design and unusually for someone with a visual arts background in education, she became an education director for a multi-academy trust which at the time had over 5,000 children across its schools. Linett has gone on to train, mentor and inspire hundreds of head teachers, including many black and asian school leaders into their first senior leadership roles and headships. . In 2008 whilst working as a senior leader in a challenging school, Linett was diagnosed with depression. Through the support of her family, loved ones and health professionals she was able to return to the profession. However, she has kept her condition hidden for fear of being stigmatised by those within her profession. This is despite her being an advocate on the importance of wellbeing for students and staff within the education system, particularly for those in challenging circumstances. . Linett has bravely agreed to use this platform to share her struggles of not only working as a black female at the top of the education system in the U.K., but also one who lives with depression. . wall provision : at @brixtonstreetgym

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📸 @fifthwalltv . The 8th subject from my ‘Your are Enough’ series is Leyla Hussein @LeylaHusseinUK. Leyla is a psychotherapist specialising in supporting survivors of sexual abuse. She is a leading international campaigner on female genital mutilation (FGM) and her passion is to empower women and girls. Leyla founded The Dahlia Project, the UK’s first specialist therapeutic service for FGM survivors. She created the ground-breaking Face of Defiance project which is a series of photographic portraits and interviews with FGM survivors. Her documentary “The Cruel Cut” with Channel 4 on FGM in the UK was nominated for a Bafta in 2014, She successfully lobbied at a political level and her e-petition 'Stop FGM in the UK Now' gathered over a million signatures, triggering a debate in Parliament on FGM in the UK. As a writer, Leyla has been published in national media and she regularly appears in both print and broadcast as an expert commentator. Leyla was named Cosmopolitan Campaigner of the Year 2010 and she was included in the BBC 100 Women List in 2013, Woman’s Hour Power List 2014 and Debretts 500 as one of the UK’s most influential people. Leyla's drive, passion and tenacity regarding her work is truly admirable. Regardless of the physical and emotional attacks she has received from some members of the Somali community, she is committed to her mission and says" protecting children from harm overides everything". Creating safe spaces for survivors of violence is deeply rooted in the core values of her work as a psychotherapist and social activist. Going forward she wants to continue building safe spaces globally, particularly in the motherland. #YouAreEnough #RememberHome @biggerthanus_

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The 3rd Subject in my ‘You Are Enough’ series is Holly Oluwo @RealRedWoman. I met Holly briefly some months ago whilst painting on Shoreditch High Street and even with our brief encounter was stuck by her openness and warm spirit. Holly was born and bred in East London, and at the age of 24 her wisdom is beyond her years, in part due to the time she spent working in a care home. She says her time there taught her that " ‘Things’ and outer beauty eventually fade. We are left mostly with only our memories, and when we pass, hopefully the legacy of the love we put in the world ”. As a survivor of a sexual assault and domestic violence, I’m inspired by her strength in facing her demons, using her art and spoken word to advocate healing, self-acceptance and empowerment. #portraiture #portrait #art #melanin #painting #shoreditch #streetphotography #portraitpainting #youarenough #rememberhome #selfimprovementisthebasisofcommunitydevelopment @biggerthanus_

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