Artist Statement

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Artist Statement

Gail Willams — visual Artist, Iya l’Orisha

I make art in response to personal, political, and spiritual concerns by viewing issues through lenses of sacred values, experience, research, and spirituality. I am a white woman practicing Ifa-Orisha spirituality since 1993 and received Iya l’Orisha (priestess) initiation in 2007. Black feminist epistemology, movements for racial and environmental justice, and Women’s Spirituality also inform my work.
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Most of my work is mixed media, I use all kinds of materials including digital media and the work takes many forms: fine art, ritual objects, pit-fired clay pottery and sculpture, decorated ceramic dishes and altars for community ritual. Mediums and methods of Ifa-Orisha spirituality and art making are equally important in my art practice—sacred knowledge, values, ritual are elements of my creative process along with guidance from ancestors and Orisha through direct communications, dreams, and divination.
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I think of art works as visual expressions that embody and communicate knowledge and ashe, a Yoruba word for power—or the energy of being. Everything has (owns) ashe. Ifa-Orisha spirituality recognizes meaning, power, and story as alive in every event, every being, every thing, and every juxtaposition. Similarly, in the images, texts, and juxtapositions of mixed media, photo collage, and altar making art forms we witness and experience meaning, story, and ashe.
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Oshun’s Justice Shield

This piece prescribed by Ifa divination, was made for protection. Mixed media, © 1999 Gail Williams.

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