I look to art and design a lot for inspiration, motivation and occasionally to improve my mood. And when I say art, I mean anything from fine art to street art, to fashion, to performing art, to the way any medium is crafted to mimic or honor or comment on a vibration that resonates intentionally with the human heart. Like when Migos says ssskrrrrrrt!
I like art that effectively communicates a feeling and expands or explores it. The feeling cannot be contrived with the crude and oppressive language of mainstream or standard commercialization. Obviously, for a series of reasons, not all art is effective in disrupting those destructive normative conditions. And so it’s all the more sweet and priceless and irreplaceable, that feeling when you come upon a work, which connects you squarely to your spirit in it’s execution.
This was how I felt when I came upon Laura James painting of Oshun as I was perusing pinterest for Orishas, which is what I do for inspiration and motivation and to improve my mood when necessary, along with the 7 other things I do at the same time on the internet.
I have a page on my board called “The Originals” where I curate images of Orishas created by artists utilizing all kinds of mediums, interpretations. Visually, Oshun is one of two of my favorite Orishas to see images of. I don’t want to incur a wrath of jealousy among the others so I won’t say who my other faves are here. But there are sooooooo many! So many depictions of Oshun!
Go ahead and google Oshun now and click on the images link. Make sure you come back, although I can understand if you don’t. You got lost in Oshunlandia™. You drowned in Yemeyatopia™.
I GET IT.
Of all the incredible images of Oshun I have collected on Pinterest, this one below just filled me right up and in all the right places.
It’s the colors I respond to initially. I love colors and the way in which a good painter uses color combinations and shades to evoke specific themes, feelings, moods and undercurrents of energy. Laura’s colors are playful but not juvenile. They are unapologetically vibrant and joyful and seem to reference a lot of popular Mexican and Egyptian art.
Then it’s the forms. Laura’s Oshun curves her hip to pop her booty out to the left, her proud breasts jutting out in the opposite direction of her head which is tilted towards an up-stretched arm as she looks down into the water, which she is pouring from a soft pink shell onto the ground. There are also fish being poured from the shell. There are bees buzzing around her yellow clad form, ya know because she’s sweet like honey. The tail of a peacock in a tree on her right hangs down almost to her knee. There are birds gathered in a tree to her left. There are lotus blossoms and lily pads at her feet. the tiny yellow orb in the upper left corner seems to be descending into the blue of a twilight sky. In fact all the plains of the painting, the hills, the ground are painted in the same blue that blue goes shortly before it turns into night. There is purple in the blue. There is yellow in the blue. There is blue in the blue.
The shapes are simple, triangles, ovals, wavy lines. The bottom of her dress blooms out in a series of down turned lotuses. On her waist is a belt of cowrie shells. Her hair is a rolling network of orange and blue circles that mimic the tale of the peacock.
And the last sweetest detail, a form, which seems to imitate a cloud or gust of wind is a brown face curled in profile looking down over her with an approving smile.
OH, I love this painting!
And lest I forget what looks like a frame of uniquely arranged cowrie shells painted around the entire edge, against an outer frame painted in gold.
I didn’t even know James painted this image of Oshun until last week. The more I looked at it, the more I needed know about the artist but the signature on the low res image I saved was hard to make out. I recognized Laura, made up what I though was her last name and let google do the rest.
I learned that she is an Brooklynite of Antiguan heritage! YAAAAAAAAZZZ!!! She Blackity Black! And she has painted a series of religious, spiritual and secular images in the same style. She calls her art, “Art for the People.” I have to keep my eye out for her next show because I would love to see her work up close. Anything more I turn up or discover about her, I will happily report here.