Aitchison was first introduced to the Ghanian sitter of the present work, Naaotwa Codjoe, in 1987. She had recently married his friend, the composer Giles Swayne, and she went on to become one of his favourite models. He had always favoured sitters with dark skin revelling in its dramatic contrast against the jewel coloured backgrounds that became his trademark style. In the present work, he has set Naaotwa against a scintillating pink backdrop that literally vibrates across the canvas; as his early champion Helen Lessore surmised, 'colour is his starting point' (Lessore, quoted in John McEwen, Craigie Aitchison, exh.cat., Timothy Taylor Gallery / Waddington Galleries, London, 1998, p.3).
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