Ato Delaquis has always been fascinated by the confluence of Western ideas and indigenous African ideas. The confluence and conflict play out in many aspects of African societies – religion, design, technology, fashion … He has often explored some of these fusions and contradictions in his art.
The artwork ‘Morris, Austin and Bedford’ is presented as a lorry station scene with three trucks dominating the painting. The trucks, bear the usual fanciful inscriptions found on many trucks around sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the eighties and nineties. There are the usual lorry station regulars – drivers, passengers, vendors…
It’s a charming scene that captures the lorry stations of the eighties and nineties. But under the hood of the artwork is the idea of the fascinating crude merger of Western and African realities. The trucks come with advanced engines in front and locally made wooden containers for passengers behind. An uncomfortable mix of the evolved and the evolving? A testament to African resilience and ingenuity? A story about the despair of the African struggle? The answer might depend on your worldview.
You can see ‘Morris, Austin and Bedford’ at the gallery. You can also see the artwork in our New Art section.