Picture of Abena in her Home studio 2022

On painting with tea & coffee over the years...

"I use tea and coffee in my paintings as well as dirt, the earth... whatever I can find - Tea is central to my upbringing; when I moved to the U.S in 2012, I found myself wanting something that reminded me of home and all I could think about were the number of conversations we would have with friends, families, and visitors over tea back in Lesotho and I was uninterested in using materials like oil paints that are toxic. 

I was also thinking about Colonialism and the Western World influencing developing countries like my own where the culture of tea drinking, like a lot of other things, did not come from us, but was something that was worked into our culture to become ours (from the UK, through India and China) - I could almost trace the history of colonialism by following the route of the tea leaves... or recount history by reading the land." 

More from this excerpt here.