- Rotimi Fani-Kayode 1955–1989
- Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper with graphite and coloured pencil
- Support: 404 × 303 mm
- Purchased by the Africa Acquisitions Committee 2015
Fani-Kayode deliberately reveals a partial view in this work, denying the viewer knowledge of the subject or identification of the sitter. The title refers to ‘Shopona’, the name of the Yoruba god of the Earth and of diseases. Deeply feared for the ability to spread diseases such as smallpox and AIDS, his name is rarely uttered. However, Shopona is also known to be a healer. These readings relate to the artist’s own life. Fani-Kayode died of an AIDS-related illness in London in 1989. The coloured dots on the skin have a dual role. They refer to the traditional sculptural representations of Shopona, which are decorated with numerous coloured spots. They also evoke the metropolitan gay scenes of Washington DC and London in the 1980s.
Gallery label, October 2022
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