Though discovered in 1974, in the midst of African decolonial processes and independence struggles, the original ancestor of all humankind, an African woman was given the name Lucy. But what about her African roots? What about her role as the mother of all humankind? Lucy’s Iris considers Lucy’s view of her prodigal daughters who are shaping the landscape of contemporary art practice on the African continent.
The most ancient woman on earth is 3.2 million years old, African and was excavated in Ethiopia in 1974 by a paleo-anthropologist named Donald Johnson and graduate student Tom Gray. She was named Lucy after the then popular Beatles song Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, which was very popular at the time, rather then acknowledging her Ethiopian origins and the colonial processes and the independence struggles happening on the African continent. Ethiopians later named her Dinkinesh, which means 'You are marvelous' in Amharic.