Raquel is a mixed media, self-taught artist that has worked with many mediums from acrylics, alcohol inks and resin to digital art.

Raquel Assanoua was born in Monrovia, Liberia in 1978 to a creative and eclectic Panamanian mother. However, she currently resides in Raleigh, NC but lived in Miami, FL most of her adult life. Her father was a mix of African from Côte d’Ivoire and French from France. As an infant, she only lived in Africa for the first year of her life before her mother was able to return to Panamá. Raquel or her mother never returned to Africa but the impact that living in Africa that had left on her mother was strongly felt growing up.

Her mother always told her stories of the land, the beaches, the beautiful women, the food, the music and the culture. The conversation and the memories of Africa still lives on to this day. Now, at 41 years old, Raquel holds those stories and the pride it gave her growing up dear to her heart. Somehow, her African blood influences her creativity. Raquel remembers sketching women´s faces taken from magazines as a teen but even earlier than that she won contests in school for drawing and art projects in elementary school. In high school, she was sure she was going to become a fashion designer. As she got older and life happened, she put away the charcoal pencils and the sketchbooks and began working in odd jobs, got married, had two girls, then divorced.

However distant, art was still in the back of her mind. At the age of 39, Raquel felt the urge to start learning how to paint. She feels it may have been sparked from finding love, not just with someone else but most importantly within herself. She began painting with acrylics and watercolour and started creating mixed media underwater scenes of beta fish. She was in love with them because of their flamboyant and colourful fins which reminded her of women…of hair flowing. She started creating mixed media and resin Africa shaped landscape pieces which so many people were fascinated by. During that time she decided to start showing her art and selling it. One of her Africa pieces were featured on Etsy Pinterest and got a lot of attention.

After doing some art shows and selling some of her art, Raquel realized she wasn´t completely satisfied with the art she was putting out there. She wanted to only do what came from her heart but things that really spoke to her soul, it was back to women. She loved to draw and paint the beauty and the strength and the glory of women. Women that looked like her. Women that struggled to be seen by the world of who they really are and what they really bring. The creativity of women is to be seen. Afrocentric, strong, resilient, beautiful women was what spoke to her soul. Africa spoke to her soul. Color, vibrancy, eclectic vibes is what spoke to her soul.

That year, she received an iPad Pro for Christmas and discovered she loved digital art. One day, she asked God to show her something to create that will inspire her to keep doing her art. That night she had a dream of a girl like her, African and Latina, with big hair and tribal face paint with African inspired neck rings. She woke up right away to sketch it out and it took two days to refine it and keep refining it until the final result became ¨Moonlight.¨ after that she decided her Afrolatina girl would be the beginning of a series called Afrodisiak, with a “k”. Obviously derived from the word Aphrodisiac, this series portrays the essence of an Afrocentric woman to be desired. Not sexually, but entirely. A woman who is her complete self, bold and unafraid to be herself and express it unapologetically. It is Raquel’s hope that upon someone else looking at her women of Afrodisiak, she will speak to their soul to recognize this same trait is within themselves.

Since the beginning of this series, she has begun to collaborate with different companies and organizations that are still in the works. She is currently working on a mural for the city of Raleigh and soon two projects for the city of Miami. Her website is currently in the works and will launch within the next few months. More of her art and updates may be seen on her Instagram as well as contacting her @ms_raq.artist