Acclaimed for her daily life-sizing pastel and charcoal portraits, Toyin Ojih Odutola now features up a globe so loaded the writer Zadie Smith has compared it to a “novel of high culture published by an African Edith Wharton.” The photos appear in The UmuEze Amara Clan and the Residence of Obafemi, a new e-book tracing the imagined history of two fictional noble family members in a Nigeria really different from the place where the 35-year-aged artist was born. In her choice heritage, the economic and social devastation wrought by the trans-Atlantic slave trade and European colonialism in no way happened, and neither did Nigeria’s persecution of homosexuality. In its place, Ojih Odutola’s aristocratic family members, joined by the relationship of two sons, take their prosperity and standing for granted. She hopes to inspire persons who see these images to consider a superior foreseeable future. “The speculative can be a bridge,” claims the artist, who lives in New York City, “and the procedure of developing it an emancipatory act.”
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