chief and his wives: take back your pearls (2013)
In this body of work, set against the backdrop of a chessboard, I deconstruct the phenomenon of polygamy by layering themes of strategy, status, loyalty and the unmet expectations that are often part of this complex marital arrangement. Each of the players in the series is depicted by a pawn, and together, they struggle to find their place in the checkered landscape that is Chief’s world.
Each woman enters into the marriage for various reasons; one for genuine love, one for the thrill, one for security and the other out of fear of living without her twin sister. Until now, they are consoled by the reverence associated with wearing the pearls reserved solely for Chief’s wives. The white seed beads strewn across the women’s necks connote the idea of currency - the notion of exchanging the tangible for the intangible-and the rejection thereof. Now, for reasons for which we are unaware, the wives plan a coup d’état of sorts, telling chief to take back his pearls, one bead at a time.....