About the work
This is one of nine overpainted photographs comprising the Esu Series by Adéọlá Dewis. A deity within the Yoruba philosophy, Esu is the energy of the crossroads, responsible for making things happen, opening the way for all possibility and potential. Red and black are the colours associated with Esu in the African-Caribbean diaspora community. They permeate Adéọlá Dewis’s similarly-titled series, which, as she explains, ‘engages that energy and power embodied through the woman’.
Dewis invited nine women to select and wear one of her Oriki aprons, a series of painted works on hessian that engage with oriki songs of praise to Esu, fabricated to the voice of singer Ella Andall. The decision to have nine works within the series is significant, as explained by Dewis:
According to the track Outro – 9 "K'nife" on Jah 9's album 9mm vol2: ‘9 is the perfect number, the principle of the spiral –every number has a corresponding letter (and vice versa) – 9 is represented by the letter “I” standing capital at all times, spanning physical, mental and emotional spaces (3squared) – movement from lower self to higher self…’ Esu is associated with the number 3 [and therefore] in this series I play with multiples of 3.
About the artist
Adéọlá Dewis is an artist and researcher from Trinidad, based in Wales since 2003. She graduated in Visual Arts from the University of the West Indies, St Augustine (2000), Fine Arts at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff (MA), followed by a Re-constructing Multiculturalism Award at Cardiff University (PhD). Solo exhibitions to date are ‘‘S.Ex.’ Self Experience, Experiencing Self’ at The Art Space, Centre for Creative and Festival Arts, U.W.I. St. Augustine, Trinidad (2002) and ‘Out of the Frame’, G/39 Mill Lane, Cardiff (2005); with work presented in group shows including ‘Mas Transformation’, W3 Gallery, London (2013); and ‘Concentric’ with iterations at Jacob’s Gallery, Cardiff (2016), Cwtch Gallery, Newport (2017), Tramshed, Cardiff (2018) and West Wharf Gallery, Cardiff (2019).
Adéọlá Dewis (1977 - )
- Esu Series
- Series Title
- Esu Series
- acrylic on photographic print paper
- height: 116.9 cm; width: 66.0 cm; depth: 4.5 cm
- Purchased from the artist March 2021, through the Art XUK project 2020-21
- The artist; from whom purchased by UK Government Art Collection, 22 March 2021
- GAC number