Maud Sulter, Akwambo: A Good Spirit Always Looks after her Young, 2001

Triptych of large-format Polaroid prints -  Female Portrait, Fertility Doll and Male Portrait

Maud Sulter (born Glasgow, 1960-2008) Lived and worked in Edinburgh.

This is a triptych – featuring therefore three portraits – one of the artist herself, a male portrait of ballet dancer Miles Ofonso, and in the centre an image of a fertility doll. The portraits are reminiscent of the tradition of oil portraiture, with a focus on the face looming out of a dark background. The theme of the denial of the importance of Africa’s history to Europe is central to many of the artist’s works, as is her interest in exploring female identity in art history.


A Good Spirit Always Looks after her Young phtographs

"This work references Akua Ma fertility dolls common in the Akan culture of Ghana. The sitters, of Scots and Ghanaian descent and French and Ghanaian descent, were both born in Britain. A playful portrait, a trope of the continuing 500-year cultural exchange between Africa and Europe."  Maul Sulter

Artist Biography

Born in Glasgow in 1960, of Scots-Ghanian descent, Maud Sulter passed away in February 2008 after a long illness. The artist studied the theory of photographic practice and in addition to practising as an artist, was well known as a poet and writer on feminism. She won the Vera Bell prize for poetry in 1985 for her book of poems As a Blackwoman. Other publications include the poetry collection Zabat Narratives and the play Service to Empire.

She has exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, City Art Centre, Edinburgh and the Tate, London.

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