Lina Iris Viktor
Lina Iris Viktor
Pure 24 karat gold, acrylic, ink, gouache, copolymer resin, print on matte canvas
127 x 165.1 cm
Courtesy the artist and Mariane Ibrahim
America’s role in the formation of Liberia - a settlement for freed slaves and free-born black people - serves as the inspiration for a series of fascinating artworks by British-Liberian Lina Iris Viktor.
Ordinarily restricting her palette to black, blue, white and gold, in this series Viktor adds red. All colours of America’s - and therefore Liberia’s - flag are thus represented. However, red also signifies the many traumas associated with the ill-conceived ‘repatriation’ movement: the slavery that predates it, deaths in transit and from disease, violent confrontations with the indigenous tribespeople, and civil wars and coups that followed.
Patterns and symbols are regular motifs in Viktor’s artworks. Built up and gilded in gold - spiritual, luxurious, glowing - the reliefs introduce a sculptural element to her work. In the background of Eleventh is the Liberian map: the gold leaf highlighting names and locations of tribes impacted by the imposition of Liberia.
In the foreground is 'Liberian Sybil’. A riff on the Libyan Sybil, she’s foretelling the many disasters that will follow Liberia’s creation.
Suffused with colour, detail, and literal and metaphorical layers, Viktor’s artworks are a pleasure to behold but the narrative - of history, race and socio-politics - demands deeper reflection.
For more information marianeibrahim.com
Lina Iris Viktor has a solo show at Autograph, London: September 13th 2019 - January 25th 2020
Hedge, issue 54, pp46-51, June 2019