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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Artist with American Inspiration: 4 World Financial Center

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

Artist with American Inspiration: 4 World Financial Center


Meschac Gaba

Dutch, born Benin 1961

Meschac Gaba’s smile overtakes the eagle’s position on an American dollar bill. On the West African 1000 franc note, the artist inserts an image of one of his sculptures, a braided hair wig that hovers mysteriously on the left side. His provocative combinations remind us that the bills we handle every day are a lesson in symbols of the state, an icon usually not to be disturbed. Gaba’s monetary revisions also echo the currency fluctuations that are common in African economies.
Pigmented inkjet print
18 1/8 x 42 15/16in. (46 x 109cm)
Gift of Vascovitz Family
Provenance: [Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa]; purchased from gallery by present owner
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryCape Town, South Africa, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Meshac Gaba: Tresses + Other Recent Projects, Aug. 16 - Sep.15, 2007 (Johannesburg, South Africa, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Nov. 6, 2007 - Jan. 31, 2008).

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, In This Imperfect Present Moment, July 21, 2018 - June 16, 2019.
Published ReferencesGaba, Meshac, et al. Tresses + Other Recent Projects, (Cape Town and Johannesburg: Michael Stevenson Gallery/Johannesburg Art Gallery, 2007), p. 18 (color).

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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