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This is a large scale artwork which includes two silhouettes of young boys pointing to their surroundings in the center of the piece. Their gestures are mirrored. The figure on the left is covered in a yellow circular pattern, the figure on the right is covered in the same pattern, but in yellow. The figures are surrounded by various colorful tropical plants and depictions of various wooden face masks. Dark grass is depicted at the bottom of the piece. The background is a royal blue.


Grace Benjamin

Acrylic Paint, Gouache Paint, Marker, Ink, and Color Pencil on Illustration Board

“Udiong” is a large-scale multi-media piece named after my favorite uncle, and created in dedication to all of my uncles who were child soldiers during the Sudanese civil war. I chose to illustrate the stories they have told me of hiding in the “bush” (forest) during the war. I used the silhouettes of young cattle herders from the Dinka tribe as a reference for the subject matter in this piece. The Dinka tribe is known for herding cattle, which is what my uncles would have been doing alongside attending school if the war had not taken place. I utilized patterns found in various African sub-saharan textiles that hold important meanings to me. This piece draws inspiration from my Nilotic heritage as well as my family’s relationship with traditional east African animistic religions. Through this piece I was able to explore my experiences as a young artist who was raised by refugees who have had their youth and childhood disrupted by war.