Maikel Deekman is a Dutch artist with roots in Suriname. Inspired by Gaugain, he ascribes his development as a ‘hybrid’ artist to a cross-fertilization of his personal, cultural backgrounds. From a linguistic, political, cultural-scientific and anthropological perspective, he forces himself to think about identity and positionality that strongly inspire his work. Deekman has a good sense of color, material, texture and image. Using, for example, hard and ‘ready-made’ materials such as metal, wood and glass that naturally find their way to him, he creates sculptures that tell stories.
This installation is an ode to Ogun, the Yoruba god of metal and war. Throughout history, Ogun has been worshiped by artisans and blacksmiths in Nigeria, who forge metal to serve people and by soldiers who prayed for protection from death and injury. However, the Yoruba gods and their symbolism move through time and context. Today, Ogun is mainly worshipped by truck and taxi drivers, technicians and hairdressers. Deekman added himself to this list of modern worshippers, as Ogun Power is the expression of the connection between the warrior god and the different personal, cultural backgrounds of the artist.
He describes good citizenship in his role as artist as ‘the responsibility to think about and participate in political and social issues and to have an opinion about them, but above all, to challenge society to discuss them and come up with solutions and results’. For Deekman, the word ‘connection’ is central to good citizenship. In Ogun Power connection is visible, tangible and sensible. Are solutions to these grand questions in humanity or are computers taking over the world? Is it a combination? What about the division of strength and power or past and present? He leaves the answers to the imagination and spirituality of the viewer.
Images by Almichael Fraay