Village shop – Niger Delta, Nigeria

600 x 500mm oil and oil pastel on canvas

600 x 500mm oil and oil pastel on canvas

This part of the Niger Delta – on the Forcados river is pretty remote. No way in by road and three hours by fast boat. No electricity, no clean water, no sanitation. I remember this “shop” very well. A little shed that doubled up as a sort of bar. The heat was absolutely stifling with massive humidity. No wonder the guy in the picture is looking glazed. Mind you this is not an uncommon look in Africa.


I started on this painting about two years ago, not long I returned from Nigeria, and this was based on memory and a still frame off a video clip. I started by painting a ground of complementary colours in oils, and then working over it later in the final colour – well that was the idea. In fact it has lain dormant until a few days ago when I had a session on it using oil pastels. The features of the man are all in oil pastels. I didn’t want his features to be too defined – I was looking for a sort of atmosphere, almost a “spirit” about the place that was personified in this guy’s body language and expression. And it sits uncomfortably with the bright, ordered, display of goods on view in the background. So I’m happy with the result.


~ by noelgarner on May 12, 2009.

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