Artist Update: Art Transforms Itself When I Surrender

After I went walking this morning with my fellow artist Tonya Butler-Truesdale (aka Adejoke), we stopped at Au Lait Cafe for a hot beverage. I got the macha latte with oat milk, which is AWESOME.

While we were at Au Lait Cafe, I started working on the base of my Oshun-inspired African mermaid wire sculpture. This process reminded me how art transforms itself when I surrender.

As we talked about the copper wire I was using, Tonya told me about the Yoruba goddess Oya’s connection to it. Mama Oya rules over the wind, lightning, storms, death, and rebirth. She is also associated with the wise woman called the Crone.

My spirit, heart, and sacral center/chakra felt a shift in the sculpture’s energy. So, I surrendered to the creative flow.

I know the creative flow is one of the ways Spirit and my loving, wise, and well ancestors guide my artwork and writing.

I have learned over the years to welcome and TRUST their presence and wisdom.

My hands started bending the mermaid’s tail. When my hands were satisfied, I stared at the sculpture. She had become Mama Oya.

The sculpture reminded me of my recent connection to Oya, who is known as Iansa in Brasil.

During my recent trip to Salvador da Bahia, Brasil with AfroBuenaventura Transformative Travel, I was blessed to visit a Candomble house dedicated to Iansa and receive a reading from a Candomble iyalorixa (priestess) who is guided by Iansa (Oya). Those experiences were my first personal connection to Oya/Iansa.

As I look at where I am in my spiritual and life journey as a 58 year old who has entered her second Saturn Return and the early stages of wise womanhood or elderhood, I can see why Iansa/Oya has shown up in my creativity. For me, her energy is all about death and rebirth in my life. The death represents the end of a 30-year cycle that started during my first Saturn Return. The rebirth energy is all about who I am becoming at 58.

Well, I still have some work to do on Mama Oya’s wire sculpture. Stay tuned for more artist updates!


Join Tonya and I for a Women’s History Month conversation about our creative journey and work as African American artists and entrepreneurs with Zawadi African Arts Gallery founder Irene Whalen, our soul sistalove and mentor, on March 25th at 3-6 PM at Zawadi African Arts Gallery, 1524 U Street, NW in DC.

Click the button to REGISTER.

We will have our work available for sale: Tonya’s amazing cards and my ancestral wire sculptures and three powerful books: Love’s Troubadours, a self-love and yoga-inspired novel; That Which Awakens Me, a mindful creativity memoir; and Digital Sisterhood, a mindful technology memoir.

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