Some Yoruba Spirits

Thought everyone would get a kick out of these BEAUTIFUL photos i absolutely love love loooove these pics

I just saw these last week, browsing on facebook. They are great…

I thought these were very good depictions and very creative takes and interpretations of these entities. I was browsing some of the criticism towards the artist renderings, and as a black man I always find it funny how folks orient to their concepts of divinity. Many of the folks commenting did not feel that these depictions were “regal” enough, commenting that the lack of clothing and the stylized power animations were more for show and not “real”. Yet, many of these old deities, and not just African but worldwide, were often depicted as nearly butt-naked with highly stylized sexual features (ridiculously huge breasts, 3-foot penises). So it’s sometimes funny to me how much folks, who often take up these cultures to be sovereign of imposed Western doctrines, will often apply Western ideals to the culture they select. I though it was some pretty cool interpretation, but then again I never really delved into these mythos’ myself so who knows.

The photos themselves are beautiful. My ethnic origin is Ghana- the deities depicted are from Nigeria/Benin. I can understand the critique to an extent. But at the same time, I think it is great that Nigerian deities have been reinterpreted in such a beautiful and respectful way. The images may not be truly representational depictions of what modern day priests and worshipers work with, but I don’t think the intention of the artist was to do that from the description in the text.

As an artist, I believe that all art can not help but be a representation of the spirit of the times. It can not help but be a self portrait in some way- reflecting the artist as well as his or her environment. So of course, a Westerner trying to capture a different culture through art in this way will naturally impose their Western ideals on the art they produce, simply because that is who they are.

I actually didn’t even think the artist really imposed their ideals, although I can see what folks meant by the renderings looking a little comic book like. To be honest, this wouldn’t be the first time… Asians are known for depicting their classic archetypes in massively stylized and comic book fashion. After that, I felt the artist at least tried to depict the deities with integrity. Rather, I felt that perhaps folks criticisms were perhaps askew by Western ideals of divinity. Again, I know NOTHING about these deities, but I do have experience with Western afrocentricism. Many times you can see critiques like this from that afrocentric paradigm, which often is far more influenced by Western ideals of “right” and “wrong” than these paradigms are willing to admit, or are even conscious of.

But again… I know jack about these entities in particular soooo… haha. I thought the artist at least did a pretty decent job capturing the allure of the power they felt those deities represented while maintaining integrity. It does help to get a chime in from someone who has some more intimate familiarity with these deities and/or cultural paradigms in which similar deities are at the forefront. I would really like to get to know the mythos of the African continent beyond just the popularized Egyptian pantheon, but never really got around to it because I didn’t feel like the info available could point me in a direction to create the intimate connection I would like to create with these deities.