Exhibition: Adolphus Opara
Brundyn + Gonsalves, 71 Loop Street, Cape Town
Date & Time:
until August 14
Tel: 021 424 5150. Website: brundyngonsalves.com.
Despite its starting point, the project is anything but anthropological. At once sensual and remote, Opara’s portraits compel the viewer to reconsider both the personal and the historic, symbolic and sartorial aspects of religion. As the artist explains, “this project was motivated by my quest to understand the beliefs and religious practices of a good friend. The project basically started from our conversations. And over a three-year period I made these images of traditional Yoruba babalawos from across five western states in Nigeria. Some of the diviners wore their spiritual dresses for the shoot, while others chose comfortable clothes that they also felt dignified in.” A counter to the West’s often skewed portrayals of African religion, Emissaries of an Iconic Religion presents Yoruba religion as something alive, evolving and deeply relevant to contemporary society.