Act 1 – Den – Omar Ba

Politics is a terrible business.  I am sure that there are plenty of politicians who started out with great intentions, but those good intentions get lost along the way, which brings megalomania and corruption in to play.  Ok, so I am in the UK and the worst that I see is a sever lack of Brexit planning, or the fact that while the state of our trade deals are all over the place, the hot topic for other politicians are campaigns for letterboxes that the postmen don’t have to bend down to shove the letter through, in other parts of the world the politics are in such shambles that it leads to blood thirsty riots, oppression of the people and deaths.

Omar Ba was born in Senegal in 1977, and studied in his home country and Switzerland.  Ba started as an abstract artist, but around 10 years ago started to develop his own style which he has created his own personal mythology to evoke the conflicts and environmental catastrophes which impact Africa.

Ba now lives and works in Dakar and Geneva, using his own personal experiences of growing up in a conflicted Senegal, and present experiences of both cultures to create works which are deeply personal but also have a political resonance, reflecting some of the terrors which his homeland has seen.

Ba sees his work as “weaving a thread” through African and European culture and telling a story.  Ba’s paintings are a fusion between the real and the imaginary pulling influences from Senegalese ornaments, organic patterns and figurative elements be it animal or human to give a feeling of something familiar while retaining an otherworldly realm.

Act 1 – Den has been created using a multitude of technique, made on corrugated cardboard, then oil paints, crayons, India ink and gouache have been used to create a depth of field which draws you in to the piece.

We I first saw this piece, I was so drawn to it, not just because it had a skull in the central point, but the pattern of the swirling cloud like images drew me to the artwork.  It is as though the figure, who I perceived to be a chief was at the center of his own universe, dictating commands, across a table which looks as though it has territories mapped out on it, moving pieces around it in some war game type affair.

The plant life which frame the piece look withered and spattered with red, perhaps indicating blood, depicting the damage that is happening to the environment due to the actions, while 2 skulls, one bright white and the other less obvious in black sit in front of the chief, giving the feeling of a sacrificial alter.  It is hard to ignore the political overtones of this piece, even though the figure isn’t identified as anyone in particular.

I love the vivid colours which have been used, which reflect the highly ornate ornaments of Africa, the clothing that the chief is dressed in, heavily detailed and bring to life the culture and style.

To me the skulls are different colours, showing deaths on both sides of whatever conflict this has been created for.  The white being the deaths of those for the chief, sat on a decorated mantel, as though their death was in glory, while the darker, less obvious skull shows the deaths of “the other side”, not cared about despite being someones relative, because they have died fighting against the cause.  I didn’t immediately go for the obvious thoughts of racial difference, because actually I don’t feel that Ba’s work encompasses that feel (or maybe that is just my personal thoughts being projected on to the canvas).

I find Ba’s work mesmirising, having the ability to draw the audience in through the patterns, to then allow them to see the story and politic involved.

What do you see in Act 1- Den?  Why not tell me in the comments?  Like this post?  Why not share it?

Want to see more of what inspires me or what I am working on?  You can find me on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram by searching WidowCranky.

Always wondered about a piece of art?  Why not ask me if I know about it?


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