About This Piece
This piece was developed from a portrait photograph of a Malawian chief called Palombe. The reduction of the portrait to half a head reflects the existentialist idea of a self that is divided by an inability to attain the things towards which it aspires. A sense of isolated introspection is conveyed by the dream-like world in which the person depicted exists, and appears to be observing. The dramatic, edgy quality caused by contrast of vivid, dark and light colours, and fragmentation of forms reflects on the experience of life in the village where the photograph was taken; a place where people eek out a precarious existence from fishing and farming, the rhythm of nature dictates the pace of life, and the shadow of superstition and witch craft is balanced by a fervent belief in God.