The ‘Embah’ referred to in the title of this piece is Trinidadian artist, poet and musician Emheyo Bahabba. An influential, self-taught role model for Lisa Brice and many other artists, Embah died in 2015. The drinking den in this work is a bar where Brice and Embah often talked, in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Brice’s blue figures reference the artificial colour of nightlife and also the traditional Trinidadian ‘blue devil’ carnival characters.
Midday Drinking Den after Embah II
FSC Certified paper and wood
Date of work
Original: Midday Drinking Den, after Embah II 2017 Oil on archival paper 234 × 122 cm © Lisa Brice. Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.
Lisa Brice (born 1968) is a South African artist, now living and working in London. Brice cites some of her influences as her experience of growing up in South Africa during a time of political upheaval, and from her time spent living and working in Trinidad. Employing a multitude of borrowed art historical references, Brice depicts strangely familiar scenes in new and often unsettling ways. Brice has discussed the significant fact that historical figuration in Western art history is, more often than not, created by white men for white men. For her, the act of a woman re-authoring an image which was previously painted by a man brings about a powerful shift in itself.