'StrugglesII: The Rise & Fall' 36 X 144in

I began the painting in 1994, arguably my most prolific year since coming to work in the UK. I had numerous exhibitions, toured the USA for several months networking and developing collaborations with other artists and institutions in New York, Boston and Houston. I also travelled to Helsinki meeting up with a dear friend Helina Rautavaara whose Bagazombie Museum displayed my 'Yemoja' and 'Amina, Saraunean Zazzau'. My 'Flight of the Maroon' had received acclaim and I was just beginning the RACE series as well as working towards my one person exhibition Winds of Change during the Africa 95 festival of the following year.




In between showing at the London Contemporary Art exhibition at the Business Design Centre, Islington and rushing off to marry in Nigeria, I was painting the Struggles series. 'StrugglesII: The Rise & Fall' is arranged across four canvases each measuring 3ft X 5ft. The series embraced human conditions of oppression and confinement . Particularly, the paintings addressed the dismantling of social categories, incarceration and enslavement. Occasionally, I make allusions to various political and  religious iconography. In 'StrugglesII: The Rise & Fall', the mood of the painting is solemn and almost monochromatic and yet quite chaotic with human forms cascading across the picture plane.  The painting was included in the exhibition 'Transforming the Crown' which ran simultaneously at the Studio Museum, Harlem NY. Bronx Museum, NY and the Caribbean Cultural Centre in Manhattan, NY between October 1997 and September 1998.


  'Procession on the day of the release' oil 84X 192in

The mood of this painting is triumphant. A celebration of freedom and harmony. The picture plane is populated with figures segmented by function. The immediate foreground depicts three children of different ethnicities in embrace. To the left are tombstones - an ode to the fallen. Below, the cannon symbolizes an end to hostilities as it is directed away from the merriment.




In the middle of the painting, the IyeOba (Queen Mother) rides in grandeur on her elephant while her courtiers bear her symbols of authority. Among the royal procession are the court jesters, acrobats and musicians. The background is characterized by vestiges of classical architecture concentric to which is the royal crown. To the far right corner of the painting are the veterans of war in salute to her majesty!

Images - left to right: Flight of the Maroon 48 X 48in; Jewels From My Crown 36 X 48in; Runaways 48 X 48in; Unmasked, Ungagged 48 X 48in.