W. C. Uduku. Painting by a student of Kenneth Murray, showing the preparation of palm oil. 1927-43
The creator of this painting, W. C. Uduku, was a pupil of Kenneth Murray, who taught arts and crafts at a boys’ boarding school in Nigeria in the 1930s. Instead of imposing European conventions or having his pupils copy European products, Murray encouraged them to take local scenes and activities as subject matter, and to draw from memory. This approach, pioneered in Britain by schoolteacher Marion Richardson in the 1920s, was shared by a small group of British modernist designers committed to countering the pernicious effects of colonialism on the indigenous material culture of West Africa. Uduku’s work, along with those of Murray’s other students, was exhibited to much acclaim in London in 1937.
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