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This work, commissioned by the CCA, Lagos, for the exhibition - LineGauge: Linear Imagery | Textual Allegories (08 Dec. 2018 - 05 Apr. 2019) is an illustration of the book KINTU, by the Uganda author Makumbi, Jennifer Nansubuga.
Laying up Treasures on Earth Where Thieves Approach and Moth Destroy is the result of an idea born out of studying some first century texts.
Whist working to glean meaning from the words on the texts, I chose to use used burlap that once bagged beans, - as the text mentioned not to lay up treasures in moneybags that grow old over time-.
With the used burlap sacs, I re-created the exact type of the offertory
collection bags used in catholic churches found in Nigeria cities; attending to the concept of 'money bags that do not grow old'. I dwelt a lot on our actions as a people- are we plummeting too far from what we used to be- in terms of charity and love?
For use in churches, offertory collection bags are hand-held and monitored by trusted wardens; wardens donned in some type of stole as part of their uniform. This artwork on the contrary, stand solitary without scrutiny whilst on display. Those in charge have hung their badges and left their charges. Hence the bags at this point, make provisions for putting in (giving) as well as for taking out (collecting)simultaneously. This is a recipe for disaster. This is exactly one of the points being made with this work - "where no thief approaches and no moth destroys"
In churches today, also funds are embezzled or mismanaged when it is
expected that the church sanitise the society, and by extension, the government.
Now if this kind of mishaps goes on with us (Christians) who ought to be trusted,
we no longer have the grounds to complain (to whom?) if the rest of the place
becomes a recreation park.
The gold colour of the stoles worn by the churchwardens is significant.
The colour gold is worn only when celebrating mass on any of the Catholic
Church feast days.14 The multiple numbers of bags, and the pole are also
symbolic. The pole has been used in the work to hold all the bags together as
another symbol of connection which suggests that this problem of distrust occurs
with many of the purses in many places in the universal society, all connected as
one; connecting and affecting every man irrespective of where they are. This
resulting in chains of mistrust and insecurity; the propagation of misery.
This work also nudges and encourages us to give alms, and aid to those
who are in need, [‘…a treasure in heaven that faileth not…’] instead of feasting
on ourselves alone all the time.
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