View full screen - View 1 of Lot 83. Sisiku AyukTabe, the Martin Luther King Jr. of Ambazonia.
83

Adjani Okpu-Egbe

Sisiku AyukTabe, the Martin Luther King Jr. of Ambazonia

PROPERTY SOLD TO BENEFIT THE INTERNATIONAL STUDIO & CURATORIAL PROGRAM (ISCP) NEW YORK

Adjani Okpu-Egbe

Adjani Okpu-Egbe

Sisiku AyukTabe, the Martin Luther King Jr. of Ambazonia

Sisiku AyukTabe, the Martin Luther King Jr. of Ambazonia

Adjani Okpu-Egbe

Cameroon

b.1979

Sisiku AyukTabe, the Martin Luther King Jr. of Ambazonia


mixed media on canvas mounted on customized wooden bookshelves with varied object installation

191.5 by 200.6 by 23cm., 75¼ by 79 by 9in. (excluding globe)

231.5 by 200.6 by 23cm., 91 by 79 by 9in. (including globe)

The lighting strip does not appear to be functioning and would likely need to be replaced. This excepting, the work appears to be in very good original condition.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Donated by the artist

New York, ISCP, On Delegitimization and Solidarity: Sisiku AyukTabe, the Martin Luther King Jr. of Ambazonia, the Nera 10, and the Myth of Violent Africa, 17 Sep 2021 – 25 Feb 2022

“I have worked hard over the years to build a foundation for my practice. I was coming to a point where l knew that l was ready for more visibility, and an organisation like ISCP would contribute to facilitating that. After 3 months in residence, I am pleased to say that I still harbour those thoughts. I am grateful for the platform, and for the many occasions ISCP went out of their way to support me towards my goals.” 


100% of the hammer price will go to The International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP), the acclaimed non-profit visual arts residency program in New York, to fund career-enhancing residencies for artists from Africa. Founded in 1994, the ISCP supports the creative development of artists and curators, and promotes exchange through residencies and public programs. Housed in a former factory in Brooklyn, with 35 light-filled work studios, two galleries, and a project space, ISCP is New York’s most comprehensive international visual arts residency program, and has organized exhibitions, events and offsite projects, sustaining a vibrant community of contemporary art practitioners and diverse audiences for the past 27 years.


With this body of work, Adjani Okpu-Egbe aims to raise awareness about Ambazonia, also known as Southern Cameroons or English Speaking Cameroons, where the artist was born and lived until 2004. Okpu-Egbe’s antiracist and decolonial visuals, along with written, spoken, and musical contextualization, shed light on the ongoing war waged in Ambazonia by the French neocolonial regime in Cameroon. The artist observes, “United States taxpayers also unwittingly fund terrifying colonial violence―even the killing of children—in my homeland and have a right to know and have a say about this devastating War that started in 2016.” 


In the present lot, Okpu-Egbe crowns the first president of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia on an imagined cover of Time magazine. The Federal Republic positions itself outside the Françafrique influence and remains internationally unrecognised, making it unclear whether the inclusion of this corporate magazine aims to be devotional or ironic. Further, portraying AyukTabe as the “Martin Luther King Jr. of Ambazonia” begs the question of what the late Civil Rights leader might have accomplished if he had the chance, and whether mainstream media would have treated him the same.


Okpu-Egbe's compositions are replete with symbolism inspired by the natural world, including pregnant fish, vines bearing lemons, and semi-abstract beasts, which refer to specific people and histories of oppression as well as celebrations of freedom. Often painting on nontraditional supports, like doors, and incorporating everyday objects including books, mouse traps, and bubble wrap, the artist layers materials to convey irreducible complexity. Prior to becoming an artist, Okpu-Egbe studied archaeology and the history of political thought, which informed his practice.