The Goddess of the South
The Goddess of the South is painted on the South-facing side of the Pyramid and is based on a painting I made last year of the Goddess Oshun.
Oshun is an Orisha deity from the Yoruba traditions of West Africa. She is a goddess of sensuality, beauty, divinity, femininity and love, among many other things! I originally painted her because she came to me in a dream vision. I didn't know who this amazonian-like African woman was with shimmering gold skin and generous curves that appeared before me, but I was shown a picture of Oshun later and I said "That’s her!” I felt blessed to have been visited by her and felt I had to document the experience in an artwork.
When I was asked to paint a goddess of the South for this project, representing Africa, It felt right to replicate Oshun. Rather than depicting her exactly as she appeared to me in my dream, I was called to paint her in a traditional African print dress and without realising I painted pyramid shapes on it. I only realised this afterwards! She wears a colourful headdress reminiscent of Orisha deities used in ceremonies. She is an explosion of colour and boldly stares out at the viewer, with an arresting gaze and slight, flirty smile. I like to think she embodies the divine feminine and all the strength and sensuality that goes with it. She is proud of her body, her divine essence, she is saying ‘fuck you’ to the centuries of oppression, objectification and bondage of black women's bodies and minds. This is HER time now, and she is unafraid to step forward in all her beauty. As a Goddess of love, she also reinforces the essential message of this Pyramid. Love is the only way forward. Despite the pain, and trauma that goes with it, we as a human collective need to show each other love and compassion in order to heal.