ARTIST STATEMENT 2021

Lakwena means ‘Messenger of the chief’.

“The biggest weapon wielded by imperialism…is to annihilate a people’s belief in their names, in their languages, in their environment… and ultimately in themselves.” Ngugi Wa Thiong’o

It was upon my arrival from Ethiopia to mid-90s England that I was initiated into alienation.

The work began as an act of self-definition, putting back together things that had fallen apart, reclaiming broken pieces and finding new ones.  I have not found all the pieces. The work is an ongoing form of resistance attempting to rebuild and restore what has been lost.

Viewed as a series of escape routes, the paintings serve as portals to an Afro-Futurist Utopia, their words chanting into spaces for the raising of spirits.

I have little faith in prevailing modes of decolonisation and the systems of salvation embedded in popular culture. My desire for emancipation extends beyond racist systems and oppression. I am in pursuit of the total liberation of the body, mind, soul and land from the subjugation of any and every form of enslavement. I am looking for Paradise.

If the possibility of total liberation is mythical, it requires a mythical intervention in order to be realised, a chief to take us to Paradise.