Black History Month Tribute: Olokun

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As we come to a close on Black History Month as well as this year being a leap year I wanted to share a painting I did last year in honor of Juneteenth and specifically for a Juneteenth Celebration of which I was one of three exhibiting artists for the event.

Juneteenth is one of the oldest commemoration of the ending of slavery here in the United States.  This celebration not only is meant to commemorate freedom of African Americans but also to highlight education and achievement.  So I felt only befitting the close of 2012 Black History Month to share some history about  my painting.

One of the things I really enjoy when painting is the research and incorporating lost stories, cultures, symbolisms, and ideologies into my work.  When I was contacted about doing a piece for this event, I had to research this Holiday all together.

Since Yoruba religion stems from many of the original religious beliefs of the Yoruba people and the roots of many other religions such as Voodoo and Sanataria originated, I started the research there. 

I was drawn to the orisha named Olokun.  Olokun is an androgynous orisha and is associated with the sea.  Olokun is considered the patron orisha of the African diaspora that were carried away during the Trans – Atlantic Slave Trade. Olokun is also a protector of the living, dead, and the unborn.  Thus becoming a befitting tittle for the piece and my tribute to this month. 

This painting titled: 'Olokun' symbolized the present slaves looking forward to the future of the baby (future generations) being born free, shackles broken. While the essence of Olokun watching the past, present, and future.

Below is some nice drum music I remember my mom playing as a kid. 


Some sites to check out:
History of Juneteenth

Disclaimer: I am not a practitioner nor scholar on the religion of Yoruba, but open to all philosophies and cultures.  This is meant to be an interpretation of my research and art.

Olokun 5"x7" limited edition print.

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