Like many mural artists before me, I’m fascinated by the resemblances of African sculpture within modern art. Featured in this artwork is an old example of African cubism - a carved sculpture from the Batetela of the eastern Congo where we can see the convergence of form communicates the figure from multiple angles. Opposite this is the carved headdress by the Bende Ibo Tribe. Popular modern artist Henry Moore independently used the same method in his modern work
titled 'King & Queen' he was greatly interested in how the Ibo artist used this method of 'opening up' the human head.
Objects such as these played a huge role in the development of European cubism - particularly Picasso’s ‘Danseuses d’Avignon’. In European cubism, the breaking up of rounded natural forms into sharply intersecting planes embodies a “synoptic” vision, as though each form were being viewed from multiple points at once. I’m eager to present multiple viewpoints at once - referencing indigenous symbology set against modern settings in attempt to develop a
unique modern mythology.
35mm film photographs were taken of the graffiti that covered the original brick.
These images were scanned, manipulated, blown up and repainted, emphasising the ease with which modern society navigates through multiple mediums bridging analogue and digital realms. Picasso’s figures are displayed atop museum plinths - much like European cultures typically display African objects as a process of “othering" or “exoticising”.
When contemplating the influence of African culture on modern culture, and considering my own white privilege as a practicing mural artist in a colonised country, I feel forever indebted to those that have come before me, and sceptical of the idealisation of modern white “celebrity” artists like Picasso and Moore. This artwork presents the clear visual impacts indigenous artists had on modern artists as a 2D assemblage.
Photographs by Andre Cois