Spirits of My Reincarnation Brothers and Sisters (My Mother Bearing Agony)

Twins Seven Seven, Nigerian (active Philadelphia), 1944 - 2011


Oil, dye, and ink on linen

6 feet × 6 feet (182.9 × 182.9 cm)

© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Curatorial Department:
Contemporary Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with funds contributed by John H. McFadden and with the gift of Material Culture, 2006

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This early work by the Nigerian artist Twins Seven Seven explores both the artist's personal history and Yoruba cultural traditions in a powerful and modern pictorial language. Among the most significant symbols of the Yoruba (the largest ethnic group of Nigeria) is that of twins. Twins are a divine gift, bringing great fortune to the family into which they are born. The artist himself is a twin, but his mother bore many others who did not survive and in this painting Twins Seven Seven pictures their dancing spirits. Each figure is made of many others, and this mystical notion of the visible world results in a pictorial cornucopia that rewards prolonged viewing.