Deities of the Black Past
The gods, humans’ answers to nature’s question, the reasons we do what we do, the reason we love/hate, start wars, the trees grow, or simply the flow of the water. There is a god for everything we need in life and even things we no longer find a need for.
The book American Gods by Neil Gaiman says it well “Do gods exist because we believe, or do we believe because they exist?”. Ms. Mone is inspired by this book when she focuses on the African Yoruba Deity the orisha. In research she has found many overlapping between these Yoruba deities, the Voodoo Loa, Catholic saints, Egyptian gods, and last the Greek gods.
Mainly focusing in the Orisha, Loa, and Egyptian gods Ms. Mone paints with a thick impasto of oil paint, using the vibrant colors that each god. Colors are important in getting the deity’s attention in them providing for you. Whether it’s the color of the candle or the cloth that you use on the alter all are important. Same can be said for a more common religion of Christianity, Red represents the blood of Christ, purple royalty, green new life, the rainbow the new covenant.
All of these faiths believe in one almighty god of sorts that is responsible for our creation, then starts to split between the elementals and human connections. All the gods are called by different names but provide the same function. Female gods usually provided fertility and one other duty, and male gods are fighting for power and control.
Having (believing in) someone of divinity and all mighty power that provides for you to believe in provides (gives life meaning ). Living a long life to than be able to join your god in the afterlife.
Don’t ask to speak on the movement
I’m in it
Don’t ask to watch memorial after memorial
I feel it
Every silver bullet,
that passes through unexpected
flesh. Leaving smoking barrels,
owned by those with power.
Windpipes gasping for air,
Crushed under boots,
I am covered in hundreds,
of metal filled holes,
unhealed purple bruises.
Salt streak tears.
Don’t ask me to speak on the revolution.
I see the faces
List of names Fill my head.
But endless pain resonates
I live every day in this melanated skin,
Everyday with curls unloved by those who walk by,
I am the movement,
But this paper bleeds as I put my pen to it.
Don’t ask me about the hanging children.
I feel every life taken for their existence
Everyday hurts more than the last.
Numbers adding up like an unwanted algebra class.
Do not ask me about the revolution
Ask yourself is, Shatana Griffin next?
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Shatana -Moné is from the city of Philadelphia, PA where she was surrounded by many diverse cultures and experiences. Since she was young, she has had an interest in the arts, not a single notebook went without a sketch or drawing. Ms. Moné’s grandfather, Clyde Scott was an influence to her as well. His art consists of drawing, painting, and of digital art. He showed her different types of African prints and traditional African fabric designs, which have inspired her continuing interest in this subject matter.
The traditional fabric designs strongly connect her to the church which had what was called Heritage Month where they get back to their African roots. They would wear their kente cloth and African garb to church for the month of February. At the end of the month they would celebrate by presenting the oral history and preforming African dancing and prayers ending in Ashe.
Her art has always been focused on the black experience An expressionist artist that influenced by the surreal. Ms. Moné prefers to work with oil paint with impasto application, soft pastels, and is developing on transferring certain design digitally.
Shatana’s current work connects to overlapping of African gods, Orisha, and Spiritual conduits and more well know gods such as the European gods and religions.
She currently studies at Lock Haven University and will be graduating in the Spring of 2021