Ile of Ile Ife - Arturo Lindsay (NEW)
Ile of Ile Ife
About the Work

From the Artist

To see is to know. But how can we know the unseen—the histories, the stories, or the names of a people that were undocumented or erased? I asked myself that question late one evening as I looked at the sun setting behind the hills on the Bay of Portobelo on the Caribbean coast of Panama.  The view from my studio faces the ruins of a dock that was, at one time, the first encounter with Tierra Firme for many weary, shackled, and enslaved black feet whose journeys began months earlier in Africa.

The setting sun in Portobelo reflects off the cerulean blue sky and puffy white clouds onto the still waters of the bay producing a rather unique effect of light that seemingly glows from beneath the surface of the water. I wondered that evening…could this light be the souls of those that perished at sea?

The following morning, I began imagining and imaging the anonymous faces of the children that did not arrive in Portobelo on those slavers—Los Desaparecidos. My drawing session attracted neighborhood children who began to guess which of their friends were represented in my drawings. Their guessing game made me realize that my drawings were probably not that anonymous after all. Maybe, my drawings were informed by the faces of the children I saw every day in my neighborhood. Moreover, maybe the faces in my drawings bore phenotypic resemblances to the abducted children that perished at sea. So began my journey.
—From Brandywine Workshop and Archive records

The Children of Middle Passage Series was created to memorialize the countless children and young people that perished during the Middle Passage of the trans-Atlantic slave trade whose names and identities have been erased.  In order to erase the anonymity to which these children were relegated I titled each portrait with a traditional African name and a corresponding village. It is very possible that, for example, a young girl by the name of Ye was kidnapped from the Ashanti village of Ejisu and later perished on a slaver crossing the Atlantic.

It is my hope and belief that when we commemorate spirit beings that met tragic ends in works of art we provide that spirit a peaceful and loving resting place. The Children of Middle Passage Series is such a body of work.
—From Brandywine Workshop and Archive records

About the Artist

Dr. Arturo Lindsay is an artist, scholar, and educator whose work is informed by the research he conducts on African spiritual and aesthetic retentions in America. His findings are manifested in works of art, essays, and lectures. A native of C...

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Ile of Ile Ife


Offset Lithograph




22" x 15"

Edition Size

80 prints in this edition


Robert "Bob" Franklin


Brandywine Workshop and Archives


Philadelphia, PA