The Baobab Tree


The only existing image of Nigerian artist Rachel Adeboye’s painting The Baobab Tree is the original work on canvas. Anyone who wants to see it has to make the trip to a private gallery in upstate New York where the picture resides. Reproduction of the image has been expressly forbidden by the artist, and visitors to the gallery are not permitted to take cameras or phones into the room where the painting hangs. The work is of such complexity, covering so many narrative elements, that it’s virtually impossible to describe. Despite these obstacles thousands come every year to see the painting, attracted it seems by its very unknownness. ‘There’s an aura, a sense of mystery about it,’ says Lauren Bergoltz, the curator of the gallery. ‘At one time the only way to view a famous picture was to go see it physically. Now images are ubiquitous, they no longer have any authority. Adeboye’s picture recaptures that sense of uniqueness we all crave.’


Simon Collings


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One Response to The Baobab Tree

    1. […] a couple more short prose pieces in International Times in the last few weeks. The first of these The Baobab Tree includes an oblique reference to Walter Benjamin’s essay ‘The work of art in the age of […]

      Pingback by Two new short prose pieces | Simon Collings on 25 July, 2020 at 9:56 am

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