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Ekure’s Prayer, Ekure’s Return

For as long as I could remember, my father and his full-blood sisters have always regarded me as the reincarnation of their mother, the reason why he named me Nneka (“The mother is supreme.”) She passed away when my dad was barely two years old, so sadly, he had no real memory of her—not even a picture. Only thing he knew was her name, Ekure, and her Christian name, Charity. Overtime, I became a little consumed with getting to know this ancestor who lived through me. I started this project asking my dad, “If you could imagine what your mother was like or your idea of a perfect mother, what and who would she be?” And I went down to the detail: her favorite color, her skin tone, personality, and talents. I took my time beginning, but I kept receiving this vision of a woman whose tenderness was her superpower. She was mysterious and demure, yet still very assertive. I studied pictures of my dad and his sisters to construct a face using features from each of them, then I channeled the same energy I felt she had in order to paint it into her eyes. Eventually, I was standing face to face with the grandmother I’d never met.

Oil, fabric, fabric paint, glass beads, 24K Gold on canvas

84in x 68in / 213.36 x 172.72cm, 2018-2019

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