Esu Series

Adéọlá Dewis (1977 - )

acrylic on photographic print paper


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  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Downing Street

    These nine photographs, all painted over, comprise the Esu Series by Adéọlá Dewis. A deity within the Yoruba belief system of Nigeria, Esu signifies the energy of the crossroads; the opening up of possibilities and potential, to make things happen. Red and black, the colours that the African-Caribbean diaspora associate with Esu, permeate this photographic  series. The photographs, Dewis explains, ‘engage that energy and power embodied through the woman’.

    Dewis invited nine women to select and wear one of her Oriki, or ‘praise poetry’, aprons. These painted works on hessian, engage with songs of praise to Esu, and were fabricated to the voice of singer Ella Andall. Dewis explains the significance of having have nine works within this series referencing the Album titled ‘9’ by the Jamaican singer and songwriter Jah9, saying: ‘According to the track ‘Outro – 9 “K'nife’ on Jah9's album…9 is the perfect number, the principle of the spiral. Every number has a corresponding letter [and] 9 is represented by the letter ‘I’ standing capital at all times… Esu is associated with the number 3 [and] 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).
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  • Details
    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