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Victory in the Valley of Eshu

Jeff Donaldson (1932–2004) Victory in the Valley of Eshu, 1971 Screenprint 35 3/4 × 26 3/4 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of the artist 1976.53

Jeff Donaldson was a cofounder of the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCOBRA), a Chicago-based artist group formed in 1968 that sought to create a distinctly African-American aesthetic using vibrant colors, rhythmic compositions, and subjects inspired by people of African descent. Victory in the Valley of Eshu draws on both the religion and visual imagery and symbols of the Nigerian Yoruba people, as well as Donaldson’s own family. The work depicts the artist’s parents, with his mother holding a six-pointed star symbolizing Eshu, the Yoruba deity of fate. Each point on the star represents a potential path into a future plagued with uncertainty.