Artist: Chol Deng Akuok

Chol Deng Akuok’s work gives us a glimpse into the life and culture of his people from South Sudan. The country that recently gained its independence (2011) has had a troubled past. Many South Sudanese people have travelled to Australia as refugees, and Wyndham has benefited from the rich cultural heritage of artists such as Chol. Chol’s work revolves around the traditions of his country with many works showing cows, which are an important form of status and currency in his culture. Parents give a cow to the family of their child’s betrothed at the time of a wedding. Many cows have markings and are known by the number of their spots. A child born to the wedded couple is named by the number of spots that his father’s cow has, linking him to the lineage of his family. Chol’s painting is both expressive of his culture and also carries his own individual style, which sets him apart from other traditional painters.