To the African American Male of African descent, ever wondered what it would have been like to know your roots? To grow up in an African village, untouched by westernization, tribal and true.
He sat across me in a room full of artists as we made our portrait paintings. When I looked at him, I wondered about his history, what if? So I decided to bring my curiosity into visual expression, after all, that’s the freedom that art gives you. I placed him in a local tribe called “Mursi” located in Ethopia, home to the most ancient tribes of man. Home land to Dinknesh, the first living existence of humanity. It’s a tribe that has fascinated me for a long time. How they have managed to preserve their culture even in such a global world. Their piercings and adornments, body modifications and practices, all still so raw, it’s amazing. I gave my subject an experience he has never had, being a product of the African Diaspora.
He took a break and walked over to my canvas, he was amazed at what I had done with him, inquisitive about its origins.
His name is Ade, I know now that he is Nigerian, a first generation American, born to immigrant parents who are products of the contemporary diaspora. He has never been to Nigeria but he knows his roots. I painted him the way I saw him.