Toyin Ojih Odutola: The Umueze Amara Clan and the House of Obafemi
This extraordinary illustrated story—Toyin Ojih Odutola’s best-known body of work—chronicles the private lives of two fictional aristocratic Nigerian families, the UmuEze Amara Clan and the House of Obafemi, if colonialist and slave-trade interventions had never disrupted the country. Rendered life-size in charcoal, pastel, and pencil, Ojih Odutola’s figures appear enigmatic and mysterious, set against the artist’s larger conceived narrative, highlighting the malleability of identity and assumptions about race, wealth, and class. The UmuEze Amara Clan and the House of Obafemi presents the story of these families in four chapters illustrated and authored by Ojih Odutola, accompanied by the artist’s sketches and notes. Also included are several insightful essays on the artist herself by noted writers and critics Zadie Smith, Leigh Raiford, and others.