O. Yemi Tubi - AJ: Omo oduduwa, the world champion
Oil on canvas
Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua known in the boxing world as Anthony Joshua (AJ) is the subject of this painting by O. Yemi Tubi. This painting is another work in his Roses and Thorns series. Following AJ’s defeat of Wladimir Klitschko, O. Yemi decided to do this painting in his honour.
This painting is titled AJ Omo Oduduwa: The World Champion because AJ is proud to be a Nigerian of Yoruba descent (Oduduwa is the patriarch of Yoruba people). AJ is a perfect subject for this painting because of his troubled past. He has been to prison and wore an electronic tag on his ankle.The formidable opponent he has to defeat first to be the champion was himself. He needed to knockout the bad boy of himself (the thorns in his life) to smell the roses of success.
On the left side of the painting, O. Yemi weaved stems of thorns together and a rose as the head. The left hand stretched towards the head of the realistic image of AJ is to depict Anthony’s fight with himself before he became the world champion. O. Yemi changed the WBC’s belt on AJ’s waist to AJ: Omo Odua’s belt. The images on the belt are the British and Nigerian flags to show AJ’s dual citizenship. The bronze image in the middle of the belt depicts one of the artefacts of ancient Yoruba people now in the British Museum. O. Yemi made this belt as a statement that AJ may lose the WBC’s belt in the future but he will always be Omo Odua’s Champion.
The message of this painting to everyone and especially to the young people is that they can defeat their own thorns and smell the roses of success.