“Sea to Shining Sea” marks Yvonne Osei’s third solo exhibition at Bruno David Gallery. It takes its title from the closing line of the first and last stanzas of the United States patriotic song ‘America the Beautiful’ written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893. Yvonne Osei has shifted the identity of the words ‘sea to shining sea’, changing its coastlines, continents and significance.
As a grown woman dressed as a Ghana public school girl, Osei embarks on an allegorical voyage by sea, engaging the Atlantic Ocean—one of the most turbulent oceans in the world—in search of her lost ancestors. For Osei, the Atlantic Ocean metaphorically represents a basin of time and truth, collapsing four centuries between her and her captured African ancestors who lost their lives during the middle passage of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Osei describes the pursuit of knowledge as a turbulent journey similar to traveling by sea. She describes the pursuit of truth through the symbolism of wading through sa