I started this series in 2021 as I was inspired by the RA Summer Exhibition coordinated by Yinka Shonibare RA, the exhibition explores the theme of 'Reclaiming Magic'.
My first though was African magic, the mystic and the colonisation of African religions. I want to challenged the imperial view that Africa has no history, civilization or religion before it was colonised and imposed Christianity. In my work reclaim magic means to regain my African power through my culture, religion, traditions, history, rituals, mystical and through the africanisation of my identity. Africa is the oldest inhabited territory on Earth but it is misconceived as dark, uneducated and full of voodoo practices. Christianity achieved a major thing in Africa: to teach the black Africans to forsake all their traditions and to facilitate colonialism.
My interpretation of Reclaiming Magic is to honour my tribal roots. I come From two tribes the Bafia (maternal) and the Bubi (paternal) tribe. This painting is a self portrait with different signifiers linked to both of my religions.
The egg: In the Bafia religion the earliest recorded religious tradition amongst the Bafia was that everything in the world developed from an egg.
The turtle: The turtle is respected as a traditional totem animal. There is an age-old belief that turtle shells are sacred and can be used to resolve disputes within the community.
The leaves: Tola leaves are used for the “the birth ritual” (Toparapara). This green leave turns red once mashed and it used to wash a new born child as it is welcomed into the family. The colour red represents life in the bubi society red is also represents the intimate bond beaten the blood between mother and baby.
The words: I have used words in Bafia explaining the creation of the tribe and its colonial influence and the Bubi words celebrate the woman at bubi tribes as it is matriarchal society.
la Waribo: woman
Karityobbo: woman lineage
Toparapara: ritual of birth
BoBe: bubi tribe
Bioko: island of Equatorial Guinea
Poto, Ruppe: mean god
Abstract faded background: West African cultural values are based on a foundation of the past, present and the respect for the ancestors. The faded denim represents the respect from my ancestors. Learning the history of our ancestors helps us gain a greater understanding of the challenges they faced