A new exhibition will be available from 1st October-12th Novemebet called THE GODS OF AFRICA by Chinwe Russell at the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum.
Here is what Chinwe explains:
'Long before the arrival of the European one God, Africa was ruled by a large number of Gods, from the north to the south, from the east to the west and everywhere in between. I know some of the Igbo Gods and deities of course having grown up in Igboland, my grandad also had a shrine in front of our house before he converted to Christianity. This project started from my desire to rediscover who I was. As many people who have lived away from their homeland for so long would agree, there is a certain melancholy which is constant in us.
'When I travelled to Nigeria my homeland, I was immediately identified as coming from abroad. When I am in England, I am visibly foreign. I started questioning my place, where do I belong? And so, I started a journey to rediscover who I was, a journey to reclaim my roots and my people. I first studied the tribes of Africa, to rediscover the people, the culture, and the traditions of my homeland. During this study, I came across various references to our ancient Gods who were at the core of our traditional beliefs and practices. I was fascinated by all these Gods and I clearly remember the shrine of my grandfather, KaaKa. I began to wonder why we, as a people, abandoned our Gods to follow the European God. These reflections resulted in the GODS OF AFRICA, an attempt to reclaim the Gods of our ancestors we abandoned long ago. I wanted to understand these Gods, who they were and what role they played in the African Society and most importantly, why we abandoned them. I was supported in this study by the arts council England who generously funded this project, not only to bring the Gods to light but equally to expand my artistic practice to the medium of ceramics. To create this collection, I collaborated with my brother Gerald Ibe, a respected African historian and under his guidance, we were able to narrow down the vast number of Gods to the 20 that you see in this collection. We attempted to cover the whole of Africa, from the north to the south, from the east to the west and the center. Some of the Gods have become so lost to Christianity and modernization that not much information remains. During the study, I began to see a pattern, and perhaps the reason why it was so easy to convince us to leave the Gods of our ancestors.
'The GODS OF AFRICA COLLECTION is made up of 20 Ceramic sculptures in 2 parts: a body and a head. The decorations that you see on the sculptures are my attempts to narrate in a rudimentary way the intriguing story of these fascinating gods.'
This will be an extrodinary visit for your and your loved ones!