Lagos-based artist Samson Bakare describes his paintings as time machines. His works celebrate Black life and Pan-Africanism, depicting vibrant scenes of Black characters enjoying moments of privilege and leisure, challenging the traditional narratives of Western art—and the dark side of Western history. Paintings like “Circa 1885” portray an aristocratic Black couple in front of a royal court. The pair are flanked by Black cherubic angels and a domesticated leopard in a reimagination of the historical 1884 “Scramble for Africa.” With powerful reinterpretations like this, Samson wants his work to confront the empire and reconcile past injustices, all the while giving Black people the history (and future) they deserve.
“I hope to provide a platform for people to reimagine the past and project a better future. We must try to restore pride, heal the broken and retell the stories.”