18 Feb Bruce Onobrakpeya and Ore ri Canaan

Bruce Onobrakpeya has recently started to explore some of his earlier Christian-themed artworks.

The first of this series is ‘Ore ri Canaan’. He had earlier explored this artwork as a deep etching on paper in 1982. Its present incarnation is as an utterly magnificent metal foil artwork.

 ‘Ore Ri Canaan’, explores the turning of water into wine. This scene is a well-known story. Jesus and his mother are at a ceremony in Canaan. The hosts run out of wine. Mary implores her son, Jesus, to come to the aid of the hosts. He agrees and turns water into wine.

Onobrakpeya captures the festivities with Jesus, Mary and some other guest seated in the front row. There is a swirl of activity – people and patterns – all around them.

The central theme is the connection between Jesus and Mary. It’s an artwork about the humanity of Jesus in coming to the aid of people. But it’s also a ‘mother and child’ artwork showing the eternal connection between a mother and a child.

The work may be straight out of the Bible, exploring a well-known part of the New Testament. But the execution relocates it to Africa – showing an African Jesus and an African Mary at an African party.