Home has never been just one place for Phoenix-based painter Papay Solomon. His mother was pregnant with him when the First Liberian Civil War drove his family to neighboring Guinea. Later, political unrest forced Solomon and his family into refugee camps. Before migrating to Arizona at age 14, he found home in the faces around him; in the camp elders and childhood friends he sketched. Now the artist explores this kinship writ large in photorealistic portraits capturing the African immigrant experience. “In a way, I’m telling my own story through their faces,” he says of the portraits, which mix European Renaissance painting techniques with richly patterned African textiles and modern fashion.


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