Chelsea Cafe Project #27

Mariana Loewy

But You Don’t Look Colombian

Monday 30 October –  15 December 2017

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Mariana Loewy, part of But You Don’t Look Colombian series, digital illustrations, 2017. More images can be found on the Instagram page @butyoudontlookcolombian

Café Project #27 features the work of artist Mariana Loewy, recent graduate from MA Fine Arts at Chelsea College of Arts.

The following questions were posed to the artist:

Who are the portraits of and what has been your main influence?

The portraits are of my fellow Colombian women. I decided to start this series in response to a phrase that I have come against again and again: ‘But you don’t look Colombian’. A phrase that, after engaging in conversation with them, I found is not alien to my Colombian peers, often even used within my own country. For me it speaks to wider racial preconceptions, extending beyond looks to deeper typecasts and ingrained expectations harking back to colonial notions that have evolved into commercial representations of exaggerated character types.
This series is a celebration of the diversity within the Colombian peoples and a celebration of diversity within my female peers, and a project that will extend to male portraits in the future.

These images were originally conceived as digital drawings to be disseminated on Instagram, why did you chose this platform and medium?

I decided to use Instagram because I wanted a medium that allowed as wide an access as possible. Since starting the project I’ve already found a lot of support from other Latin American women. I want to create social consciousness around the subject of stereotypes and find social media to be a perfect tool for this. I decided to use digital illustration because it allowed malleability.

How does this series relate to your previous work?

This series speaks of identity and thus connects to my previous work through intimacy. It shows how I create an intimate bond with my country through identity in the midst of a third person’s questioning. It is funny that you feel strongest about where you come from the moment someone questions it by saying you don’t seem to be from that place. Your bond is steeled through their apparent ignorance.

About the Artist

Mariana Loewy is an illustrator, writer and photographer. She explores the subjects of eroticism, intimacy, nostalgia, death, and how all of them correlate. Loewy has always been interested in human sexuality, at first its functionality, how we worked as animals on a biological level.

Through my practice I slowly left this type of work on the shelf and instead continued my search for intimacy, one that had started from a young age and as my interest in sexuality grew. As my understanding of intimacy developed I began to comprehend that it existed on different channels. It had different meanings for every person. I began to comprehend that intimacy had no timeline and no face.
My research continues to change in form as I re-encounter intimacy through every human exchange. For it morphs. Mercilessly.
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About the project The Chelsea Cafe Project is a series of displays of work by students and staff from Chelsea College of Arts. These changing displays are a chance to see some of the talent here at Chelsea from across a diverse range of disciplines. The series is curated in collaboration with CHELSEA space (opposite) as part of the Public Programme.

For more information please contact Cherie Silver at or in person at CHELSEA space. 

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