I was born in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. I lived some of my childhood, in a small town in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve and then pretty much grew up in beautiful, Cape Town, South Africa with the exception of a short time in my dads home town Johannesburg, Gauteng. I am South African Portuguese with Mauritius and Dutch heritage as well. I know little to nothing of my Dutch roots apart from that my grandad on my mum's side was Dutch and I know of its colonialist impact on South Africa and Apartheid and the slave trade. I know a little more about my Mauritius roots (on my mum's side)- we ate curries at Christmas and our take on Mauritian street food- Gato piments, which we stuffed with chicken and call "Murrinut", but I probably have more Portuguese-South African quirks. I attempted to learn the language but embraced my European roots in other ways such as enjoying bacalao (salt cod) at my dad's friends house one Christmas, and those lunchtimes eating peri-peri chicken livers with Portuguese rolls and tinned-sardine sandwiches. As children, we spent a fair bit of time around my dad's Portuguese friends and picked up on many a swear word dropped in their conversations, like merde (shit).

Growing up, we didn't have a lot of money, but we lived a simple life always surrounded by nature. Our garden in Hluhluwe was full of papaya (paw paw- South Africa) and we lived across from a pineapple farm. My dad owned a grocer where my sister and I liked to play. We had wild rabbits, dogs, birds, and a tortoise for pets and we rehomed stray cats all the time. We also loved catching giant locusts in jars! As children we played near the water's edge where hippos and crocodiles weren't too far away. We looked forward to adventures into the game reserve with my dad in his "jalopie" AKA jeep. We had such an exciting childhood. When we moved near the coast, we were either climbing mountains, catching fish and frogs, going rock pooling, or heading to the flea-markets and second-hand shops and antique stores for a bargain- My love for the outdoors, nature, animals and giving old things a new life came from my childhood. This is how I keep my heritage and things that make me, alive. I think what I'm trying to say is; If we dig further back into our traditions and quirks we will find something that makes up our design because culture and diversity are important for enriching our lives. Learn to appreciate culture and traditions from all over the world. Have conversations with people, learn from them, and in turn teach someone something. This is what makes our world so beautiful and so great. Immerse yourself in people and their traditions when you travel. Get in touch with that long lost relative and have those conversations. Have those conversations with friends! Culture is the very fabric of our world.

During my travels to Gambia, Northern Africa it made me miss home. And so, I think my bold, colourful painting style is an expression of home in a way and everything that makes me.

I hope I get to learn something about your culture and heritage!

Let your culture and your history inspire you and let it teach you and become a better human being because of it.

Fran xx

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A bare wall is a sad wall. Especially when you've collected all this amazing art and just do not know where and how to put them together because of colour theme, space, or just not knowing where to start.

My gallery room started with my downstairs loo. I thought the small, intimate space would make a great place for viewing pleasure while you're sat on the shitter. I then included an upcycled piece I created from which the pink and orange hue set off the rest of the colour scheme for the room. After that I included some of my favourite illustrations from birthday card front covers and a few more paintings I did that oozed that pink-orange palette.

If you already have a colour scheme in mind, GREAT! All you have to do is choose an artwork that fits the scheme, and the others will follow suit. Otherwise, choose an artwork and theme the room to the colour that stands out most to you. Make it fun, make it funny, make it abstract, psychedelic, whatever the hell you want. The room will soon come alive and you and your house guests will be sitting on that toilet looking around at your gallery room and not even needing a poop.

Updated: Mar 29, 2021

We set off to the village of Kungkujang early and arrived after a bumby ride- lost a box on the way, which Ebrahim recovered and had the help of a local who invited us into his compound. We were pushed for time so had to politely decline. The kids call foreigners "tubabs". As we enter the village we hear high pitched "tubabs! Tubabs!" from all directions. We were greeted by the Chief and his brother which quickly turned into anger an frustration as he said he was not informed of our visit and hence couldn't give us a proper welcome, but Kebba talked him down and he led us to the clinic where the villagers arrive to have their health checks. The chiefs brother opens is home to the Sisters to conduct their work in a clean, dry and cool environment. The villagers all have slices of an exercise book as their medical booklets which all their ailments and medicine are logged in. The Sisters arrived, spoke about their work and we left them to it. We went to see the Lions water tower which is checked and maintained by a delegated local. Me, Brigid and Marcia were then taken to the school where we met with the headmaster who told us how the nursery and the schools function while Mike had his meeting with Kebba, the chief and the rest of the council. We were taken on a tour of each class where the children sang for us. They were learning about fruits in a song and then there was a clapping song. My heart melted.

My art class students were well behaved as we set up, they sat quietly watching and waiting. I provided each table with paper plates, feathers and glue. The plates were prepared as masks ready for the kids to decorate. The teacher was very helpful as he explained the task, showed them my example and we began. It took a little while for them to grasp the concept of what they were creating, but with a little guidance, their creative juices were flowing! As the project moved on more kids showed up to see what was happening and they spilled into the room!! I believe that art and creativity is an important part of expression. That without colour and imagination, the world can be a dark place. Gambia has given me colour, and innovation and creativity and in turn I wanted to share mine with those kids. I had the best day, I only wish I could have taught more classes during my trip.

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