Dzidefo (Inspire Me)
Esco Gallery, Melbourne
Image: courtesy of the artist
Edited version featured in AfricanOz print edition Sep/Oct
Contemporary painting, fashionable viewers, offbeat spaces … I’m a big supporter of all things current especially where art is concerned. However; I must confess that while viewing this flawless exhibition, I felt rushed purely because of the venue. Esco is a pleasant looking restaurant/gallery but I was not about to order a meal. On the other hand; Dzidefo (Inspire Me) is a body of work that needs time to savor the elegance and the spirit of a woman that Edem Badu serves up the only way an African woman knows how.
According to her blog; Badu is a self taught artist and word-smith whose work continued to grow over time through experimenting with varied colors and techniques
Her paintings are held strongly by a thread of story telling. I found familiar stories within every piece on display.
With titles such as Exposed, Take me as I am, Soul Sista, truth.be.told - I found a strong sense of honesty which is depicted by simply pouring one's soulful history on wood board. My absolute favorite was The Colour Purple. With a portrayal of this caliber, I believe Adichie and Walker would be happy for Badu to use any of their titles anytime. Having read these wonderful writers work and viewing this particular painting it was amazing to see the amount of breeze that's moving her head wrap, the rays of sun that hits her golden disc drop and the countless life gazes that hits the side of her face. This title was inspired by the books Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and The Color Purple, Alice Walker
While her technique is rough, moody and painterly the stories told are refined moments of vulnerability which can only be shared by choice. And to be able to share her choice, she invites the viewer to rest the amour and voyage in one’s reality.
Badu goes beyond putting up a great show by making one of the paintings Priceless(Mixed media on wood board 220 x 61cm) available for auction where the proceeds will be donated to Orphfund Charity .