by Vidabeth Bensen and Forrest Greenslade
Claire Bezy’s studio in her Pittsboro home captures her history, philosophy, and aesthetic. She has had multiple opportunities to visit various African countries in part because of her parents’ personal and professional ties to the continent. “I am originally from Belgium and moved to the United States with my parents at the age of 3. Due to my grandparents’ careers in public diplomacy and education, my mother grew up in Ethiopia and my father spent his formative years in the Congo. My parents also lived in Rwanda for eight years.” Her father is an adjunct professor for Carnegie Mellon University-Africa, which is located in the capital, Kigali.
Claire suffered a serious brain injury from a traumatic accident as a young child and still must manage many health consequences. “Art, meditation and the practice of mindfulness, have helped me accept and tolerate the challenges that have arisen.”
Her art integrates these threads in her colorful stylized mixed media creations featuring the colors and textures of her African experience.
Claire has a degree in Early Childhood Education from Alamance Community College and worked as a lead daycare teacher for 15 years. She is certified as a Sky Breath Meditation teacher with Art of Living and practices breath meditation daily. She currently works at Pittsboro’s eclectic international shop, French Connections. She started Mindful Africa Studio in 2016.
Claire’s decorative collage paintings incorporates acrylic paints, watercolor paints, African fabrics and banana leaves. “I get inspiration for most of my pieces from photographs that I took during my travels to Africa.” She then creates layers of fabric, leaves, paint, and various materials to create amazingly striking images of African life. “I like to use nature and people as my focal point and pattern and color to contrast the subject of the piece.”
Claire’s life script is unique as is her artwork. “Each person has a different journey. My story is different because I incorporate my own experience in my artwork using African patterns and fabric. I want viewers to experience my life in my art.”