Boat Composition

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Omodamwen workshop
Benin City, Nigeria

Boat Composition, 2006

44 x 126 x 35 cm (17 3/8 x 49 5/8 x 13 7/8 in.)
Museum für Völkerkunde Wien, 185.018

This contemporary depiction of Oba Ovonramwen’s journey into exile considerably recasts and embellishes the historic event. In contrast to contemporaneous photographs showing Ovonramwen on the British yacht Ivy, here he is depicted heroically in his coral regalia and seated at the center of a large canoe, accompanied by a chief, two wives, four British soldiers, and two rowers. For many Edo, the defeat and exile of Ovonramwen continues to be a sacrilegious topic that is not openly discussed.