Inside the stunning interior of Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi, the hot new eatery from the celebrated chef, you're bound to notice a gorgeous piece of artwork on one of its walls. Onwuachi commissioned LA-based artist Kohshin Finley to create the work, which features Tatiana, the restaurant’s namesake and Onwuachi's sister, cuddled with her two daughters.
“Kwame asked me to do it, and I said ‘yes’ immediately,” Finley shares with EBONY. “He said, I want you to paint my sister and her daughters, and we started spitballing about what the painting would be about. We talked about motherhood, and we talked about joy, pain, protection and patience. I hung out with Tatiana and her daughters for a couple of hours, and it was just a magical, effortless experience.”
Upon first glance, the black and white piece looks like a photograph. “This is from one of the pictures I took when we went on a walk,” Finley explains. “We found this perfect park bench. They sat down, and I didn't direct or tell them what to do. The way they are in the portrait is authentic; they literally nestled into each other and were just filled with love and joy. It was one of those things that was so easy and organic that you have to follow your intuition. And I once I did, I let them tell me the story.”
The work perfectly captures the essence of motherhood. "Just to watch Tatiana with her kids, I was shown so much by how tightly she hugged them and other nonverbal cues that told me all I needed to know," Finley shares. “Seeing that, combined with the Black mothers that I know in my life, it's all about how strong they are and how hard it can be, but also how beautiful it is. Getting to witness it firsthand with Tatiana and her daughters was such a magical experience. This project came out of love and a connection, and I'm honored that I got to capture it.”
Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi is located at Lincoln Center in New York City.