All Photos – Credit: Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute
Well, it’s been a great week. I spent Wednesday night, Thursday, and Friday morning in New York City. I came to Gotham City to attend the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute’s opening reception for the “Wearing Spirit: Aesthetically Personifying the Feminine in African Sacred Traditions” exhibit.
“Wearing Spirit” is a multi-media exhibition of paintings, sculpture, photography, textile art, video and installations honoring the power of the sacred feminine in African spiritual traditions. When I walked into the gallery, I felt a powerful energy wash over my spirit and ‘heart as I took in the beauty of each piece of artwork. AMAZING! Each artist”s work touched me deeply. I felt the presence of my ancestors in their work.
Attending the opening reception for “Wearing Spirit” was a HUGE moment for me because my mixed media wire sculpture “Erzulie’s Black Heart” was included in the exhibition. Below is my artist statement for the exhibition.
Ananda Leeke’s passion for African goddesses began while she was studying Kemetian and Yoruba religions and writing My Soul Speaks, her first chap book of poetry, in 1992. In 1995, Leeke began using coat hangers, an assortment of wire, found objects, vintage jewelry, fabric, and amulets to sculpt images of African goddesses including Oshun, Yemanya, Oya, Maat, Auset, and Het Heru. Over the past fifteen years, she has explored these goddesses in her artwork, writing, and travels to Cuba, Egypt, Ghana, Louisiana, and Senegal. She discovered Erzulie, the Haitian goddess of love, while writing her debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One. Erzulie influenced the lives of many characters in Love’s Troubadours. Erzulie’s veve is incorporated in Love’s Troubadours logo and artwork on the book cover.
Erzulie’s Black Heart is a goddess of love and healing who was born out of the middle passage experience of enslaved Africans in Haiti. She is a Petwo spirit. Her love and healing energy are hot, aggressive, and quick to act when the children of Haiti need her. Her black heart represents a sanctuary for Haitians when they are faced with life’s hardships including poverty, illness, violence, and natural disasters such as hurricanes and the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that occurred on January 12. Erzulie’s Black Heart heals the pain and suffering of Haiti’s sons and daughters. She protects them with the fierce love of a Black warrior woman. Her intention is to bring the children of Haiti to higher ground.
I also had a chance to reconnect with Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, the founder of the Caribbean Cultural Center, and my dear sistalove Shantrelle Lewis, the curator of ‘Wearing Spirit.” Shantrelle also serves as Director of Programs & Exhibitions for the Center. Dr. Vega and Shantrelle agreed to share their thoughts about “Wearing Spirit” with Ananda Leeke TV. See their videos below.
My NYC play dad Fred Mays and sistalove friends Jill Barrett, Toni Blackman, and Zahava came to the event to show their support. In addition, I met artist Michael Cummings and filmmaker Spike Lee (love his movies She’s Gotta Have It, Mo Betta Blues, Malcolm X, School Dayz, and Bamboozled). Click here to see the Center’s photos from the opening reception.
My NYC play dad Fred Mays and I
Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your weekend!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for the Sacred Feminine,