In our world, energy flows and connects us all, transcending the boundaries of time, culture, and belief. We tend to think of time as one-dimensional with everyone and everything existing in the same timeline and space-time but in actuality, we live in different temporalities and spatialities. The Yoruba philosophy of ÀṢẸ is a spatially polychronic global concept of command, energy, power (given or received), authority, and creativity. It is the vital and divine life force in all living and non-living things.
As a manifestation of will, all objects, actions, and activities are concretized ÀṢẸ or energy. They embody and possess vitality, sentiently vibrating, radiating, and interacting with everything in and around them. When used as a command, ÀṢẸ means “so will it be”, offering an emphatic affirmation of life force into whatever that is willed, asked, said, or created. The declaration and verbal exaltation of ÀṢẸ (pà àse) activates the intent of the ÀṢẸ giver igniting the authority or power of life (fun àse) into the living and non-living beings and objects that received the command (gbà àse).
This work follows my new investigation of capturing the essence of one’s spirit and intrinsic energy using cowries as a portal of gaze and object of corporeality called “ÀṢẸ AESTHETICS”. The works are an intrinsic extension of ÀṢẸ , embodying the ancestral, spiritual, and metaphysical, inviting us to explore the unseen and hidden energies that resonate within our own inner and outer worlds. Using color and texture, the works have been materially and conceptually activated by mirroring the visual and contextual embodiments of African traditional carved wood figurines and masks, materials/objects/totems of cultural significance, and various elements of Yoruba and African spirituality practices and rituals onto the work to ignite transformational and existential change. This selection of works engages the viewer in a visual ritual that transcends aesthetics and resonates with an energy that is simultaneously traditional, timeless, and contemporary.
These works invite the viewer to transcend the multiplicity of time and spatiality by engaging in a different conception of seeing and being in the world. How will this shift in understanding evolve our quest for meaning and purpose? How do we invoke, exercise, and activate ÀṢẸ toward an understanding of the interconnectivity of life?
What would the world look like when we begin to see ourselves as higher beings who have the power (ÀṢẸ ) to manifest (pà àse) and evocatively challenge and redefine our existential conditions?
adegebesan / i am still processing my next steps, 2023
raba the SEER, 2024
steph / GOOFBALL, 2024
spiritual ginger, 2023
HE WHO CAPTURES THE WORLD THROUGH THE EYES, 2023
MR CATABOLIZER, 2023
an ode to Black sons, brothers, uncles, and fathers, 2023
BETTY / sweet as a pumpkin, 2024
the embodiment of a negro, 2023