The exhibition took place on Mon 7th – 17th in October 2013 at the Guest Projects Africa – a artist space in Hackney. With a programme of activities which included live art, dance, storytelling, head wrapping and academic talks. The exhibition closed with a live evening performance at the Lyric Hammersmith on 17th Oct
Re-Introducing Oshun is an interdisciplinary exhibition that re-images black women’s bodies as sacred places of beauty, intimacy and love through the Yoruba deity, Oshun. Featuring an all female collective working within the mediums of movement, visual arts and poetry, Re-Introducing Oshun, demystifies the omnipresent gaze placed on black women’s body by “creating images of black women that look, talk, feel and love like us and in doing so presenting our own truths”.
I was fortunate to meet with Janine in 2012 when she interviewed me at my home to find out about my perception and view about beauty. In Feb 2013 we met again when she informed me more about her exciting project. Janine Francios has many talents which includes an emerging writer/creative producer and Director/Thinker and also a community worker. – www.janinefrancois.com
The aims are to envision what the deity Oshun would be represented as if she were to take form of a human body based upon stories used to describe the deity. He explained how Oshun (the Orisha of Love) is a Yoruba Goddess of the river and reigned over love and intimacy. There are many stories featuring Oshun and we were told of the story when Oshun departed from Africa through the enslavement trade to the Americas and thus incorporated in Brazilian, Cuban and Haiti traditions and ceremonies. The storyteller is standing in a circle surrounded by amber petal shapes – a colour associated with Oshun.
I was invited to take part with a head wrapping workshop. this time the men where asking me more questions about head wraps. I was tidying the table and saw a black scarf which I new wasn’t mine. one of the men said that it is his. His name is Abdul and singer songwriter. I immediately told him to sit down so I could wrap his bald head – He couldn’t believe how different he looked and felt – as it was cold outside he decided to keep it on for his journey home.
Before leaving the exhibition we had a conversation about images, beauty, goddesses and deities. How historical context is important to describe our imagery of black beauty in a positive light. I will definitely be researching further as I have always been intrigued about the purpose of their spirituality within a black woman. The photographic images were embedded onto silk material and hung throughout the space. We loved the body-paint artwork on the images by artist Esther Melbourne and wished to have a large silk image of an Orisha hanging in our bedrooms.
Thank you to Sister Pru who assisted during the workshop and all the participants.
Check out promo video – What makes you feel beautiful?
blessings – Sister E