ORÍ-IRE: RHYMES, RHYTHM & REANIMATION
An Exhibition of Affirmation Poetry & Portrayal
Personally, my transformation became apparent once I chose to inquire, document & attempt to decipher my Oríkì. Although the Oríkì was bestowed seven (7) days after my birth, I wasn’t aware of the poetry until three (3) years ago. Astonishingly, like a blueprint, it narrates my unique personality and even hints at my career choices, serving as a confirmation.
T-Shirts Inspired by the Exhibition are created to literally em"body" the essence of the animal featured.
Using the naming traditions peculiar to the Yòrùbá of Southwestern Nigeria, primarily Oríkì, the artist employs hairstyles as a medium for exploring, portraying and projecting the metaphoric essence or attributes of some animals people aspire or seek to embody and/or emulate.
These animal metaphors highlight the attributes of an animal and are said to have been influenced by the observations and interactions of hunters, preserved through folklore and other oral traditions.
As is the case in many societies, referring to a person as a certain animal can have positive or negative connotations. However, the naming traditions of the Yòrùbá serve to imbue the newborn with the archetype s/he is believed to embody.
It can be said, that the name itself imbues the individual with the essence while the accompanying poetry or rhyme animates it. This is often accompanied by some sort of rhythmic expression, i.e. a dance, a hand gesture(s) or motion.
The exhibition attempts to portray this embodiment and invites the viewer to participate in the (re)animation. Overall, it serves to encourage viewers to acknowledge and utilize their positive attributes as (re)affirmations, particularly when confronted with challenges that disrupt one’s self perception.