History & Exopolitics

Photographer Creates Stunning Images of African Orisha Deities You’ve Never Heard of Before

  • Pax Ananda

    Please stop using “you’ve never heard of before” in your article titles! It’s rarely ever true to make such a claim esp. in this day and age.

  • Holiday O’Hara

    Having studied and participated in Santeria I can say these are not accurate representations of the Orishas, these works are appropriation, not appreciation. They contain a lot of
    incorrect information and hypersexualization of the deities.
    Beautiful? Yes, but beauty does not justify.

    • Brook Hubbard

      So, because you studied and participated in a single syncretic religion that happens to share these deities with one of its ancestral religions, you’re the expert and final determinant on accuracy?

      These are based on the Yoruba people, not Santería or any of the other blended religions that share that origin. In addition, your accusation of “appropriation” shows you are presumptuous and ignorant about the photographer ~and~ you don’t seem to understand what the word means.

      • Chris RasCas

        thank you Brook!

    • Chris RasCas

      Oh you “whitesplainers”!! Your arrogance is astounding … but not surprising. First off, just because you learn a new word doesn’t mean you know how to use it – try looking up the meaning before blurting out words like “hypersexualization” and “appropriation” – neither one applies here…. sigh… Quite common that some white person from the US or Europe does some research into another culture and all of a sudden becomes self-appointed expert! To the point of (thinking you are) schooling the people who actually can claim said culture as their heritage… As Brook said, Santeria is only ONE DESCENDANT and syncretized branch of a much more ancient and widespread and yes, diverse, religion. The paintings/ carvings and statues one would find in Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity vary significantly from those in, say, the Anglican Church – I don’t see anyone making a fuss about “Inaccuracies” – are they not both Christian Churches (an guess which one is older!!) … But aside from that – a main purpose of any religious or spiritual system is to see divinity through one’s own eyes i.e. Man creates God in his own image and likeness. If an AFRICAN descendant, upon discovering for himself AFRICAN deities that were hidden from him as part of the brutal process of dehumanization that the racist white supremacist power structure has perpetrated for 500 years, decides to do an artistic tribute in images that make sense to him and those around him who also actually share this heritage, WHO ARE YOU to TELL US what the Gods of OUR Ancestors look like??!?!?!! When Christians in China paint a picture of the Madonna and Child with Asian features nobody goes telling them “Beauty does not Justify”!!! … If an AFRICAN descendant decides he wants to show an AFRICAN God with dreadlocks, tattoos and rippling muscles / that is HIS prerogative! You whiteslpainers need to learn the difference between cultural appropriation (what YOU actually do!) and CULTURAL RECLAMATION!

      • Mlcherry belle

        Sorry you sound like you didn’t know what those words meant either. Actually most of your comment is really dumb. You’re are no better than the dumb ignorant your replied to.

        • Catherine Edmends

          he’s actually very erudite and on point – you need to educate yourself and stop calling people names – i’m sure you are the semantic expert here pffft LMAO

          • Mlcherry belle

            Your comment upsets me

  • http://christianagaudet.com/ Christiana Gaudet

    Um, what makes you think I have never heard of these deities, or that they are not part of my pantheon? I had great hopes for this project, but it seems trite and insensitive.

    • Brook Hubbard

      I think what’s trite is all these White people telling others what’s acceptable regarding artistic interpretation of African deities. Must be nice to have the privilege in society to dictate what’s sensitive, accurate, and appreciative… especially to a Black photographer.

      • http://christianagaudet.com/ Christiana Gaudet

        That’s a fair response. I understand your point, and take it to heart.

    • https://www.facebook.com/RECd1973/ Mr Hazard

      I did feel these were Sexually focused,,, and I have no idea about any of this culture or it’s deities! No opinion if it is correct or tasteful as ART is in the eyes of it’s creator and those who enjoy the creation… but I get what you are speaking also and did feel why you took the comments (of their assumptions based off of your skin) to Heart. And hopefully they did also!

  • Einelorelei

    These are beautiful pictures.

  • Chris RasCas

    Nice article, wonderful work. However I agree with a few other comments here – the “You’ve never heard of before” assumes the same ignorance of the readers as (what is implied as) that of the writer – a dangerous and almost insulting assumption. Admittedly the artist himself apparently only learnt of this fascinatingly rich aspect of our cultural heritage one month prior (in 2015!). This alone speaks volumes to just HOW IMPORTANT his work is. However I think you will find that the majority of people who are actually interested enough to read this article probably have, at very least, “heard of” most or all of these Orisas before…. Still. Thanks for the article 🙂

    Oh One more thing though – WHERE IS OGUN???!!! 🙂

  • Raúl Vargas

    Just the fact that this deities are represented by beautiful afro people are something to appreciate. This is the future people.No more hiding those deities behind white-catholic saints but explore it together and love it the way it is. Peace.