Prayer is good O! is a phone call between my mother and I that reveals a ritual we have shared for 35 years. Every year on my birthday, she recites the same prayer in Yoruba, and whenever I am feeling a little down I call her asking for her blessings. It's one of the ways we've bonded throughout the years and in times of strain, this ritual grounds our relationship in love. For me, it’s always been the simpler things -- like this mother-son exchange -- that remind me of my worth, that I am loved, that I am important, that I deserve to be here, that to matter is the bare minimum.
Oluseye is a Nigerian-Canadian artist. His work explores the magnitude and polyvocality of Blackness and the ways in which it moves across space, place, and time, shaping and shifting the world. Centering Yoruba cultural references in an homage to his heritage, he bends the ancestral with the contemporary and rejects the binary distinction between the traditional and the modern; the physical and the spiritual; the past and the future; what is new and what is old. Imbuing the everyday with the mythic, his work reinforces African rituals and philosophies as living, complex, and valid traditions of Black consciousness.
Portrait Credit: Andre Perry
Banner image: provided by the artist.