a picture showing moyo okediji standing next to his artwork

one of the paintings I just discovered in my garage.

This is one of the paintings I just discovered in my garage.

The painting celebrates Robert Hayden’s poem, “Middle Passage.”

It is a really long poem.

The painting focuses on this excerpt:

“That Crew and Captain lusted with the comeliest

of the savage girls kept naked in the cabins;

that there was one they called The Guinea Rose

and they cast lots and fought to lie with her: “

The character across the floor of the ship being whipped to consent is the lady called Guinea Rose in the poem.

Can you see her?

If you can see her,

you are the one

telling the story to yourself.

You are responsible for

what you see,

because—mo sá fún ẹ tó:

the figures are all masked

with colors and patterns.

Yes. But I also know

it would be impossible

to show it. No

gallery would really want to

display it.

It reminds America of

what many would like

to forget and erase.


When you grow up

In Africa, as I did,

the enslavement of Africans

has no meaning

to you. It is a subject

skipped in school and

a topic outside all discussions.

but when you arrive the United

States, you suddenly

realize that you wear a color

that binds you to a history

written on your forehead.

How do you deal

with this new

story that in fact

is part of you

although you did not

know you walked around

with this shadow

defining your physiognomy?

I paint it out

and it paints me in.

Interested in some of my published works?

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply