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The Nuba Survival

2 min read

In an isolated field near a dilapidated barn stands this chilling portrayal of the situation of the Nuba peoples of Sudan.
This disturbing sculpture is made all the more powerful by its odd location. In fact, its frame is an half-collapsed barn, surrounded by a remote field in the village of Checkendon in south Oxfordshire. There are no signs leading to the striking sculpture, or plaques explaining its meaning. The sculpture it’s in a very peculiar place, and the falling down barn is particular, as well with it’s multitude of boats under the collapsing roof.

This artwork, that represent two skeletons in an embrace, is titled “The Nuba Survival”, and was created by local Oxfordshire sculptor John Buckley (best known for his sculpture of a shark sticking out of a roof in Headington), after a visit to the Nuba Mountains in southern Sudan.

John Buckley lived in the region from 2000 to 2001, as a guest of the Nuba Rehabilitation, Relief and Development Organisation (N.R.R.D.O.), during the time of the genocide. He witnessed first hand a mass attempt to wipe out a cultural identity through ethnic cleansing, slavery and fierce attacks on the traditional homelands.

Thirty years of fighting has left the indigenous tribes living in the Nuba Mountains on the edge of survival, what some relief groups shall define an ethnic genocide. The artist was struck by the resilience of the people he met, despite their suffering, and created this incredible work to call attention to their life.

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