Observer of Spring is a painting in which the artist makes a reference to the tragic events of the US Civil War (1861–1865) between the northern and southern states. The hero and the witness of the events from the spring of 1861 is a young girl, a dark-skinned blonde. With her eyes wide and her mouth open, she turns to look back, staring into the surrounding darkness. The gloomy composition stands in sharp contrast with the hope of transformation, alluded to by the word “spring” in reference to the bloody events which took the lives of several hundred thousand soldiers but which, at the same time, brought liberty to millions of slaves.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Observer of Spring, oil on canvas, 2013