Monday, April 11, 2011

Embracing the Orisha at Yema Gallery, 540B Freeman Street, Orange, New Jersey. Opening April 29 6-9pm through May 28. Curated by Toni Thomas

Embracing the Orisha

Elegua (Esu/Elegba)
Fiber Art Dolls& Mixed Media Installation
20” (cloth, paperclay, wire armature, mixed media)

At a crossroads in the history of the gods, when each wished to find out who, under God, was supreme, all made their way to heaven, each bearing rich sacrificial offerings. All but Esu-Elegba, who wisely honored the deity of divination beforehand and had been told what to bring with him to heaven – a single crimson parrot feather positioned upright upon his forehead to signify that he was not to carry burdens on his head. Responding to he fiery flashing parrot feather, the very seal of supernatural force and ashe, God granted Esu the force to make all things happen and multiply. Outward signs of submission and material bounty were no match for wisdom and humility. Once granted his powers of dominion, Esu instead of arrogantly subordinating everyone to himself, did the “cool” thing – he agve a vast feast to share his newfound prestige and to honor God for the priceless treasure of ashe.

He is the guardian of the crossroads and messenger of the gods, the ultimate master of potentiality. Favorable, he modifies the worst of fates; hostile, he darkens the most brilliant of happenings.

- from Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosphy by Robert Farris Thompson

Yemaya (Yemoja)
Fiber Art Dolls& Mixed Media Installation
20” (cloth, paperclay, wire armature, mixed media)

Yemaya-Olukun is the Mother of the Sea, the Great Water, the Womb of Creation. She is the Mother of Dreams, the Mother of Secrets. She is natural wealth, the mother of pearl and Veiled Isis. She is the mermaid, the full moon; and intelligence beyond human comprehension. She is envisioned as a large and beautiful woman, radiant and dak; nurturing and devouring; crystal clear and mysteriously deep. Yemaya rules the house, nurtures the child in the waters of the womb; and has jurisdiction over the affairs of women. Gaze upon the waters of Yemaya for your own self’s sake. Perform rituals on the ocean at sunrise and midnight for your healing. Watch Her shimmering in the light of the full moon and be renewed. There is no mountain of trouble that Yemaya cannot wear down; no sickness of heart that She cannot wash clean; no desert of despair that She cannot flood with hope.

- from Jambalaya,, the Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals by Luisah Teish

Embracing the Orishas, Yema Gallery, 540B Freeman Street, Orange, New Jersey. Opening April 29, 2011 6-9pm through May 28, 2011. Curated by Toni Thomas.

This exhibit is a continuation of Yema Gallery's recognition of the 2011 UN Resolution 64/169 designating this year as the year for people of African descent by paying tribute to the culture and traditions of the African people. This exhibit will be presented along with an exhibit of the work of Nigerian artist Rahmon Olugunna. Also featured are Adrienne Wheeler, Bisa Washington, Janice Anderson, Jody Leight, Joya Thompson, Shirley Parker Bejamin, Lynn Presley and Geraldine Gaines. The artists were asked to present work that reflects their interest in a deity (orishas) associated with Yoruban spirtual practice.