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Reine Pokou, oil on canvas / 127 x 85 cm – 50 x 33.8 in / 2005 – Sold

Alba Pokou was a courageous Queen who led a  tribe that was originally located in which we consider today the country of Ghana : the Akan people.
While harmony and peace reigned over her people, jealousy grew in the very heart of her family. Some of them plotted to dismiss her from her throne by creating an alliance with a next door King, who urged the Queen to flee, and those who supported her fled with her. But the warriors of the enemy King followed them, with orders to kill them all.

Legend says, they reached the bank of a river they could not cross. The people were distraught, seeing the troops of soldiers approaching far away. The mage of the village asked the spirits of the river to calm its waters so that they could cross, the latter answered that they had to yield their most precious possession. It was then that the people hastily convened gold and jewels which he threw into the river to meet the request of the spirits of the river, but the water violently rejected the precious stones. The wizard returned to the river and said, « But we gave all our gold ! Why are your waters still so agitated ? »  « This has nothing valuable » replied the spirit,  « the child prince, the heir to the throne, we may be given, and you will be safe ».

The mage transmitted the request of the spirits to the Queen, a mournful silence followed the words of the mage, despite her pain, the Queen complied, becoming aware of the issue, she gave her child to the river. The waters subsided and the people immediately crossed from one bank to the other. The Queen crossed the latter, on the other side she found her kneeling people in gratitude. The Queen happy for her people, however, she was crying his son … She uttered this cry of pain « Ba ouli ! » which means « The child is dead ! ». Tormented by this cry, the crowd felt that so deeply, which it decided to rename the tribe.

 

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