Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Nigeria at the beginning of colonialism. A classic of African literature. ...more info on wikipedia

About the artist: Stephen Krohnfrom South Korea

Stephen Krohn is an American artist from the desert of Tucson, Arizona. He is currently living on the island of Jeju in South Korea. “I have been painting and drawing all of my life. Much of my inspiration comes from the stories and myths that I have collected from my travels and readings. I’m always looking for allegories that shed a new light on our existence as humans. I hope that I can help promote this literacy project so others can appreciate and love these stories as much as I do” he says.

Why this work

“Why ‘Things Fall Apart’? I remember “Things Fall Apart” back from my university days. We had great class conversations about this masterpiece. Chinua Achebe recreated a world where I could totally immerse myself. His world possesses beauty and culture, yet he also shows the realities of living in Nigeria during the colonial period. It is the type of book that made me want to go out into the world, not just to travel, but to live in a world that offers new perspectives. The title “Things Fall Apart” is so beautifully literal. I felt I needed to be faithful to its title without being cliché. The earth was my starting point. The earth is everything to this village; it gives them their harvests and they have shrines and priestesses dedicated to its fertility. The people of the community are always toiling away on their farms. Proverbs of everyday life are told through the metaphor of the earth all throughout this novel. It is this foundation that I wanted to ‘fall apart’, that causes the community to visually fall. It is almost as though everything the village holds as true is coming apart. Their basic beliefs are breaking away at their feet. Other themes I wanted to include were wrestling, the inner struggle of Okonkwo, and Christianity. These were also essential motifs of the book that created dynamism in the illustration. The goal for me was to represent all these themes cohesively while still retaining a sense of the spiritual.