Global Time reveals how Europeans were perceived when they first arrived in Africa. An exquisite Yoruba wood sculpture from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century shows a curvy and oddly sensuous Queen Victoria carved in the Yoruban style, the Queen's Britishness as much transformed by colonialism as her Nigerian subjects.
NOW looks at the present time as the place where past and future intersect. Hanging on the wall is a ghostly assemblage of driftwood carved with big round staring eyes, bodies scarred and splashed with color, bearing witness to the wounds and stains of colonialism. Here I linger.
I confess, I walked into this exhibit with a Jon Stewart joke in my head, "Yes, yes, yes. We Americans, uniquely among Earth's people, move forward in time." However, time is more complicated than that. The video installation that provided the drumbeat for our journey does so while keeping us tied to the modern urban experience in Nigeria, the sounds of the street revealing how time moves so much faster than it once did ... at the beginning of things.
[Originally published in October, 2012.]