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Iron Horse

In the days of antiquity, to discover a bland, undecorated wall, pillar, or structure in an Igbo community was indeed a marvel of its own kind, as sculptors, painters and storytellers eagerly made use of surfaces such as the wall in this photograph for the purpose of exhibiting their art.

Taken in Nnewi sometime before 1912, this photograph captures an indigenous artist's panoramic clay renditions of life in an increasingly European-influenced world. Notice the presence of both the native horse and the new "iron horse" (bicycle). What if, perhaps, by placing both horses at opposite ends of the spectrum, the artist was attempting to depict the then on-going transition from the old to the new?



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