Gods of Africa Touring Exhibition
In recent times and in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, the world has been questioning the lack of ethnically diverse representations in our museums and art galleries in the UK and beyond. Prior to this, I, Chinwe Russell, a Nigerian-born Doncaster based artist had been questioning my place in Europe and Africa.
It was this self-reflection that led to the creation of the Gods of Africa collection of 20 sculptures, the creation which was made possible through a grant by the arts council England. My story about the Gods of Africa collection is my attempt to recapture a sense of belonging which had gradually been stripped away after more than 20 years in Europe. This exhibition which was shown in Doncaster Museum to very positive reviews is a great way to encourage audiences from the Black Asian and Minority ethic groups to visit your venues by giving them an exhibition that is relevant to them.
Long before the arrival of the European one God, Africa was governed by many Gods most of which I had never heard of before. This project started from my desire to rediscover who I was. As many people who have lived away from their homeland would agree, there is a certain sense of displacement which is constant within us. When I travel to Nigeria my homeland, I am immediately identified as coming from abroad. When I am in England, I am visibly foreign and so I decided to go on a journey to rediscover who I was, a journey to reclaim my roots and my people. I first studied the tribes of Africa, to rediscover the people, the culture, and the traditions of my homeland. During this study, I came across various references to our ancient Gods who were at the core of our traditional beliefs and practices. I was fascinated by all these Gods and I began to wonder why we abandoned our Gods to follow the European God. The result of that wondering is the Gods of Africa: a study to understand who they were and what role they played in Society.
The decorations that you see on the statues are my attempts to narrate the intriguing story of these fascinating gods.
As the world increasingly questions the lack of representation of other cultures in our museums and galleries, the Gods of Africa collection is an important way to bring in more diversity into your programming by welcoming groups who were previously excluded by the content of your programming itself. Touring this collection in your venue is also an important way to move away from the superficial discussion about colour and welcome the more exciting study of culture. .
The collection comprises of 20 ceramic sculptures in 2 parts, a body and a head.
Full heigth is 43cm tall and 14cm in diameter (approx)
Let’s discuss. Thank you.
Gods of Africa Project
Before the arrival of the Europeans, the African continent was ruled many ancient Gods and deities. Each of these Gods had their own dominions and specialties.
The Gods determined the fate of man on earth. From the north to the south, from the east to the west, there was a God for everything. There were the creator Gods, the mother earth, Gods of the underworld, the living and the dead, God of morality, abundance and everything in between.
When the Europeans came, everything changed and the Gods were driven to extinction. This project sponsored by the art council is an attempt to bring back the Gods.
The artist has studied different Gods from different parts of Africa. She has then recreated 20 of them as ceramic sculptures, telling their stories on the body of the sculpture. Each sculpture is made up of two parts, the head and the body.