Nigeria completet fullI’ve done several pieces on various aspects of the relationship between the Western/European/Asian countries and Africa, although the word “relationship” implies a level of equality and respect that I don’t believe ever has existed.

“Nigeria” is a commentary on some of the consequences. It becomes a proxy for the juxtaposition of the modern and ancient aspects of African society.

Nigeria is oil rich, and derives most of its income from oil revenues. It has a robust construction industry, and an expanding telecommunication sector. All of this represented by the skyscraper-like  body of the sculpture, with its hundreds of windows. However the skyscraper also bears some resemblance to a kigango, or spirit house with the head on top representing the deceased and the windows the chip carvings that are the hallmark of some vigango (plural of kigango) . These markers or spirit houses are a feature of some Kenyan funerary rites, in which the spirit asks the living to create an abode.  This belief in magic or superstition is the other aspect of Africa. Superstitions around treatment of dead relatives  hampered efforts to manage the Ebola crisis, and introduction of medical techniques for fighting diseases. Superstitions also influence marriage, family, and inter-tribal relations.

d59c4f9749af1dadd0b5db2684071366Nigeria head

A final word: many Americans believe in astrology, flying saucers, ghosts and Bigfoot. We also erect large markers to our dead. While superstition and irrational beliefs  may not hold sway in America to the extent they do in Africa non-rational thought is still one of mankind’s’ most salient, and troublesome, characteristics.






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