Color image of mural of a large cat and birds in a tree; grass in the foreground with a tree and building in the background

Untitled (44UN-7931-017), Tanganyika (Tanzania), 1958

Todd Webb

Archival pigment print

Courtesy of the Todd Webb Archive L2020.85.59

Not on View

A house in the village of Kingoni, Tanganyika (Tanzania), is painted with a mural of two trees, their gnarled branches creeping across a gray wall. Depictions of four perched birds, including a vulture, an owl, and an eagle, its talons wrapped tightly around the tree limb, are on the right. On the left, a leopard crouches, ready to pounce. From behind the wall, two papaya trees, lush with unripe fruit, reach over the roof and outside of the photographic frame. The incorporation of these trees—both painted and living—raises questions: Which came first, the mural or the trees? Where does representation end and reality begin?

Image: In Copyright. Courtesy of the Todd Webb Archive

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