Richard Onyango - AFRICA Theme Sale New York Saturday, May 15, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Catalogue Essay

    In this work Onyango presents us with a meeting between the artist and the late Drosie Deedes, his former lover from the 1980s, and Deb Teighler his fantasy lover. Once described as the fattest woman in America, Onyango came to know of her through a magazine he saw on a visit to Europe. His obsession with Deb grew out of his passionate love affair with Drosie who died only nine months in to the affair. This relationship contained all the elements of an African rags to riches romance with the wealthy and physically powerful Western Drosie dominating the younger, innocent object of her desire , the artist mesmerised by her physicality and the worlds that she opens up for him in a still racist post colonial Kenya. Onyango (who has never married) started to paint his memories of Drosie a few years after her death, and has continued to honor her memory ever since through his work. His new muse, Teighler, whom he has never met, and whose fate remains a mystery, became the subject of individual fantasy works until the two large women began to share the same canvas in a kind of uneasy polygamy.
    In this unusual work Onyango incorporates and parodies the colonial trappings of African political power. His work is entirely instinctive and he has no interest in the conceptual framework that can be seen to surround it. His instincts are utopian. His works draw the viewer in to his life where their preconceptions and prejudices are robustly challenged.



Deb, Drosie and I in the palace

Acrylic on canvas.
47 x 63 in. (119.4 x 160 cm).

Signed “Richard Malindi Kenya” lower right.

$6,000 - 8,000 

AFRICA Theme Sale

15 May 2010
New York