Chika Aneke • Lagos • Nigeria
2016 • Acrylic on Incised Wooden Relief Sculpture.
80 x 124 cm
The above piece of art mirrors the image of a poor helpless widow as she painstakingly strives to successfully return back home with two very delicate but exquisitely embellished earthen pots of sparklingly clean water she jealously and briskly bears on her head and on her arm while on her way back from "Ogwugwu River" located some considerable distance away from the village at the time of severe draught in the land. Emphasis therefore, is not necessarily on the rich ethnic material provided by the "Uli" and "Nsibidi" aesthetics of the eastern Nigeria, which was sparingly used in rendering the this piece, but on the organic expressional gestures displayed by the central figure - the widow, as she tightly grips the two kegs as though her life depends on them. On the flip side of this story however, the above piece of art work was meticulously created to achieve yet another purpose - which is, to infinitely celebrate the inestimable value as well as the countless invaluable roles that water plays in the life of man. Hence man needs water to Cook, clean, build, plough his fields for crops, attend to his pets and livestock, wash, appear clean and most importantly, be sustained alive other than being dehydrated owing to lack of water in-take. Metaphorically speaking, water, in this context had advanced to symbolically depict the place of God of all creation in the life of man. Just as man cannot do without water if he intends to stay safe, healthy and alive, so does anyone that hopes to have a meaningful flourishing life need the immense presence of God just as the fish in the ocean need water to stay alive, so does man need the incomparable grace of God to conquer any life's battles, be it spiritual or physical.
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