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Ounje- Food of the Orixás


Ounje embraces the influences of Candomblé in Afro-Brazilian art, beginning with food - involving the dancing body, the rich adornments of ritual spaces, corporeal entities and culinary set-up, all complemented by music.

The exhibition is a constellation of chefs, visual artists, actors, musicians and dancers who emphasise the importance of food as a striking feature of African (and African-derived) cultures.

The different means of handling, cooking and serving food within religious contexts have in themselves, evolved into sacred acts.

Communion during ceremonial rites within Candomblé informs the conceptual and scenic design of the exhibition.

The spectator experiences the sustenance of ancestral memories as represented through various aspects of Candomblé; from the sacred to the spectacular.

Fábio Osório ( In the video below) is one of the few men registered at ABAM-Associação Nacional das Baianas de Acarajé e Mingau. (National Association of Acarajé and Porridge of Baianas). He performed “Bola de Fogo” (Ball of Fire).

The performer cooked served about 50 abaras and over 100 acarajés to the public. In addition to frying the bean paste in palm oil, Osório narrated how art and cooking converge into the story of his life.

The artistic installations are structured from the scenic setting of a terrace kitchen.

Abara, steamed bean paste in banana leaves.

In the performance "Fagun Ga-mi-ori", Odaraya Mello invited the spectators to fold small pieces of paper in a process of "development of my head" as it is called "Ga mi Orì" - in transforming the word origami into expression in the Yoruba Nago language.

The video above is of a performance at the exhibition by Ilú Obá De Min, led by percussionist, vocalist, composer, and practitioner of Candomblé, Adriana Aragão. She is one of the founders of Ilú Obá De Min and has the title of Yatèbèsé within Candomblé, Mãe que faz as súplicas - the one who chants the Sacred Songs. From an early age, she was allowed to play the sacred drums.

Ilú Obá De Min through their projects rooted in Afro-Brazilian and African cultures, develop activities for the empowerment of women, the strengthening of ethnic-racial relations and the confrontation of racism, sexism, discrimination, prejudice, religious intolerance and homophobia.

Aryson Heráclito with guests at the event.

Ounje was curated by Adriana Aragão, Ana Celia Santos, Ayrson Heráclito, Beatriz Coelho, Bel Coelho, Maria Lago and Patrícia Durães.

Images ©zainabujallo

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