top of page
1. Divination Painting (Exotic Dawn), 2020, Oil on linen, 80.25 x 67 inches

In my series of "Divination Paintings", I endeavor to engage with the multi-dimensional realities of traditional African art. I randomly apply triangles of printed banana box cardboard onto canvas, which results in a field of broken down graphic elements, yet simultaneously reveals new visual structures. No longer in control of the image, I take on a role similar to that of the diviner or shaman. I attempt to transcend my own ego by relaying coded information, and possible revelations, from a sentient cosmos. The collages are often transposed into oil paintings, which allows me to create works of larger scale and to accentuate the graphic forms. 

2. Portal to a Multi-dimensional Reality2014
 Collage, watercolor, gouache, pencil on paper, 14.75 x 21.25 inches

In one of my first works related to Futurism, I depict an idea for a project which would be developed with an astrophysicist, and by using relatively simple scientific instruments. A functioning radio telescope, sculpted from banana boxes and reinforced with fiberglass,

would detect the cosmic radio waves which stream down to us from the edge of the universe. This data would be computer elaborated into geometric forms based on the visual languages of traditional Nigerian Igbo carving and Uli motifs. Paintings would then be created, and they would contain information that has literally come from the very limits of our current systems of belief and understanding.

3. Cosmic Mediation No. 10 (Study)2014, Mixed media collage on linen, 31.5 x 31.5 inches

This Futurist-related work from a series entitled "Cosmic Mediation", depicts a configuration of celestial bodies coming into alignment above a temple. The geometries in the image, informed by Igbo carving, are intended to signify the truth of cosmic perfection. Human apprehension of the cosmos leads to states of objectivity and collectivity, after which tensions caused by differences between race, ideologies, and religions, etc, begin to seem very trivial.  

4. Five Banana Boxes, 2019
Acrylic on marine ply, BDSM equipment, wood, glue, screws. Installation with variable dimensions: each box 35.5 x 73.5 x 57.75 inches

The objective of this installation was to communicate what it feels like to be embedded in structures of domination such as colonialism, racism, and exploitation, and how to represent this aspect of blackness. One of my main motifs is banana boxes; their tropicalized graphics articulate an ‘exotic’ provenance, much like the exoticization of African bodies from an ethnocentric perspective. When these boxes are shipped to the West from Africa, the Caribbean and South America, old routes of slavery are retraced, accentuating existing patterns of migration, trade, and exploitation. (See below for interior view).

5. Five Banana Boxes, 2019, (Interior view)
Acrylic on marine ply, BDSM equipment, wood, glue, screws. Installation with variable dimensions: each box 35.5 x 73.5 x 57.75 inches

Peeking through the holes into the dimly lit spaces, viewers could make out BDSM equipment. My intention was not to allude to the histories of domination and oppression by analogy with BDSM, where acts of submission are obviously voluntary, but to use BDSM as a lens to examine roles of difference and the embodiment of certain types of sensations. How does difference become material within the contexts of race and power? How can one articulate the complex histories of physical experience on the body of the other, where domination and brutality have not only been profitable, but also eroticized?

6. Banana Sculpture No.23, 2016
Bronze, 50.75 x 14.5 x 8.5 inches, edition of 5 plus 1 AP

In my series of "Banana Sculptures", one of my main objectives is to investigate the formal characteristics of traditional African sculpture. The works have an obvious frontality, and the banana motif is reduced to an abstract element with which I can experiment by exploiting the possibilities of negative space and by creating compositions of various rhythms and tensions. I also see these sculptures as totems, sacred objects that represent some sort of spirit or entity. This work was initially sculpted in stitched cardboard and then cast into bronze. By way of this archaic process, first used in Africa in Igbo-Ukwu in the 9th century, the ethereal quality of the spirit world is materialized and made permanent. 

7. Canoe, 2013, Archivally treated banana boxes, fiberglass, wood, pigment, 19.25 x 141.75 x 21.75 inches

This work partially reflects social and economic issues related to the imbalances of global wealth: migration, and the exploitation of labour and raw materials in the developing world. The canoe is fully functioning and sculpted from cardboard banana boxes which have been shipped along the same routes as current migrational flows and historic Atlantic slave trading. The suspension of the work near the ceiling of the space allowed for more transcendental readings: the canoe as a craft for voyages in cosmic and metaphysical realms.

8. Paddles Nos. 1 & 2, 2013
Archivally treated banana boxes, fiberglass, bamboo, pigment
64.75 x 7.75 x 2 inches
9. History Painting (after Géricault), 2011
Archivally treated banana boxes and enamel on board, 51.5 x 69.5 inches
10. Banana Painting No.1 (Study), 2011
Archivally treated banana boxes, enamel and glue on panel, 39.5 x 31.75 inches

This work, from my series of "Banana Paintings", is the first in which I paint directly onto a collage of banana boxes. Feeling limited by the possibilities of Western painting, I had abandoned oil paint and was depicting Igbo geometric designs with the glossy black enamel I had seen on African barbershop signs. I had also been collecting banana boxes, and was intrigued how their printed graphics created a lexicon of the "exotic". My experiments lead to painting the Igbo designs directly onto the boxes, and I felt that the resulting works communicated an irony which directly confronted stereotypes of race, identity, and the "authenticity" which is often expected from artists of African descent. 

bottom of page