Painting the Women of Africa

Painting the Women of Africa
Louise Parker is a talented South African painter incorporating African designs, colours, and themes with gospel stories and characters. She and her husband have three daughters. Her paintings display the marriage between the gospel and her native land. 
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When she was 17 years old she felt a desire to join a church. She felt dissatisfied with the religion she had grown up with and began to investigate different religions as a matter of interest with her Jewish friend. She had known a Mormon girl at school and had admired her parents' marriage and relationship. She felt that she wanted that type of marriage. After having the missionary discussions, she became a member of the church just before her 18th birthday.

Louise studied art at Nelson Mandela Metropole University, majoring in fine art, and participated in various local and regional exhibitions, and also taught art lessons. Then she began illustrating for Macmillan Publishers. 

'I had never considered producing religious artwork, but in 2006 I sat in a rebroadcast of General Conference and heard a talk by Sister Anne Pingree. She spoke about her husband giving temple recommend interviews to Relief Society sisters who had walked for miles to attend the interviews. Long after they had completed the interviews, Sister Pingree and her husband were making their long drive back and saw these two faithful sisters walking back to their village carrying temple recommends that they would never use.

'As Sister Pingree spoke, I began to draw a figure, holding her temple recommend close to her heart. As I went home that Saturday night, I began to plan the painting. The parable of the five wise virgins came to my mind and I began painting the following week. It was one of the most extraordinary and blessed experiences I have ever had. Work on the painting went very quickly and in spite of the detail, I completed the work in a few weeks–I had a day job at the time. I sent the painting in to the church worldwide art competition and was blessed with a purchase award. The painting was used to promote the art competition on the website and published in the Ensign.


'At around the same time, we had some families move into our ward from Zimbabwe and I became close friends with one of the sisters. She shared some stories about what they had suffered and endured in Zimbabwe, and ideas began to develop. I began to think of the scripture in Proverbs: who can find a virtuous woman? It seemed fitting to produce a series of paintings paying tribute not just to South African women who are industrious and brilliant examples, but also Zimbabwean and other African sisters. These sisters are so warm and kind and happy in spite of harrowing circumstances. I began to produce vibrant, colourful patterned works to try to portray this. I don’t think I’ll ever quite portray the brilliant nature of my sisters, but I will continue to be inspired by their marvellous stories.'

See some of Louise's paintings below

L Parker Tree of Life.jpg

Tree of Life (Inspired by the story of Lehi's dream)

L Parker Sisters in Zion.jpg

Sisters in Zion (This painting was inspired by examples of sisters helping one another in need - often the sisters have very little themselves, but they are always so willing and eager to help others who are struggling.)

L Parker Search.JPG

Search (Search, Ponder and Pray - I wanted to produce a reverent painting about that quiet time we spend with the Lord, pondering His teachings.)

L Parker Who can find a virtuous woman.jpg

Who can find a virtuous woman? (Inspired by Proverbs)

L Parker Sharing Talents.JPG

Sharing Talents (In life and in the gospel we all have different gifts and abilities – and different personalities. This is what makes us an effective team when we are serving together: instead of criticising differences, combining our unique skill sets and personalities allows us to have a more effective outcome in our service. There is no ideal archetypal personality: in life and in the gospel we have need of all people with all skills.)