Acrylic on canvas, Various size
In this series I juxtapose layers of histories through the complex view of the African and African diaspora experiences of nostalgia of place and time.
“Welcome Home” is inspired by a 1975 song composed by Osibisa music band, Ghana, to motivate African diaspora to come back home.
The second verse, “You've been kept down for much too long, Stand up please and say I am free, Don't forget you are welcome home..” reminds me of Marcus Garvey’s “Back to Africa Movement” Garvey advocated for African Americans to be proud of their race and return to Africa, their ancestral homeland and founded the Black Star Line in 1919 to provide transportation to the continent, and the Negro Factories Corporation to encourage Black economic independence.
Furthermore, the project addresses the issue of unfulfilled promises. In 2017, The French president Emmanuel Macron shocked the world when he made a historic declaration that the former colonial power would strive to return objects looted from Africa to their homelands. But years after that momentous occasion, little concrete action has been taken. I second to Patrick Mudekereza the director of Waza Centre d’art de Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo, when he told Artnet News“I have the feeling that Macron is not keeping his word,”
“welcome Home” references the photographs of Malian Photographer Seydou Keïta, Keïta’s portraits show distinctive West African clothing patterns against his own patterned backdrops, and capture the dignity of Africans encountering modernity under colonial rule,
Whereas in my pieces, the background consists of hand painted African wax fabrics scraps I collected from seamstresses around the world, representing a group portrait of women from diverse communities and backgrounds, whilst the models in gold leaf emphasizes the dignity, wisdom, royalty, strength, aesthetic beauty and spirituality of the African heritage.