NEO DEITIES OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA
In a year of great conflict, sacrifice and survival, the visual art cohort decided to create a new pantheon of deities that reflected this moment and time for Black people. Born of conversations steeped in the folklore of Africa and its diaspora, these deities were fashioned in a spirit of cultural syncretism. Several texts historic texts acted as guidepost for inspiration, “Characteristics of Negro Expression” By Zora Neale Hurston and THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY BLACK PEOPLE: Black Folk Heroes in the Age of Steam! by Balogun. Throughout the process students courageously grappled with the trauma of both the news cycle and the global pandemic, brilliantly using their hopes and fears as fertilizer for the imagination. Designed to guide, assist, and influence the affairs of mortals, Nommo rule over both the spiritual and natural world.
The Nommo were originally planted on Earth by the galactic architects Sha’londria and Quantavius from the star, Sigi Tolo, in the constellation Canis Major. As earth’s omnipotent guardians, the Nommo roamed the planet, freely revealing the secrets of the universe to those that would follow and worship them. As time went on, humanity resented their powers and began to reject their wisdom. Eventually the Nommo transformed into Shadow Matter… trapped between the seen and unseen. Discarded and unwanted the Nommo watched as humanity devolved into savagery. The great suffering of the Maafa triggered a rip in the Shadow Matter realm. Black people enslaved and taken to the New World resurrected the Nommo to battle the oppression and subjugation of White Supremacy. In each stage of Black resistance, new Nommo are called forth from the Shadow Matter realm to assist in our liberation.
Explore the deities...
To discuss their creative processes and the importance of African folklore, our scholars were joined in conversation by Balogun Ojetade, one of the creators who helped inspired their work. You can view this conversation, along with the full visual art virtual summit presentation, here: