Hmmmm . . .itís not quite "us". Okay, itís just me. An anthropologist at heart, I first traveled to Brazil in 1996. I was overwhelmed by the beautiful, spiritual art of the Candomble tradition. The Nigerian Yoruba spiritual tradition, now spread across the African Diaspora by the Atlantic slave trade, is one of the oldest and most complex religious systems on earth and African Brazilian adherents have been developing their own brand of Orisha worship and art for over 300 years.
I brought several pieces back to New York and gave them as gifts to friends and house mates in the Lucumi (Cuban Orisha) Tradition. I had never made people as happy as I did when I handed over a piece of this art. I understood how they felt. The beautiful crowns, the hand mirrors and fans, the art inspired me in ways I hadnít experienced before. All religions are serious and heavy business but this art brought in a beautiful, inspirational side. I got hooked on the smiles, and twelve years, and many artists later; here I am, still at it.
Iíve since traveled to Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico and other islands, New Orleans and Nigeria studying the Orisha tradition and I try to transmit my love of all these cultures and what Iíve learned of them through the art that I select.
Granted, I do most of the heavy lifting on this experiment but so many people make this effort possible. My gratitude lists are included and Iíll be adding on as I go along. This effort wouldnít be possible were it not for those whoíve educated, supported and inspired me.
Iíve been nurtured by the Orisha Community worldwide and I am profoundly thankful.
Who Am I?
Iím definitely not Oprah Winfrey. There is absolutely nothing that I "know for sure". Strange for a child of Obatala, right? But there are a few things that I believe right now;
I believe Cornel West when he says that "Justice is what
love and truth look like in public."
I believe that the poet Ntozake Shange was telling the truth when she said "Where
there is a woman, there is magic."
I have faith in the writer James Baldwinís words "Not everything
that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced."
I agree with the historian Thomas Cahill "The history of
the world is written in blood."
Iím convinced by the poet Sekou Sundiata "The earth is made
of matter but the world is made of words."
I agree with playwright Tony Kushner, "What you are capable
of, let nothing stand in your way."
And I suspect that the poet Robert Frost was secretly referring to me when he wrote "I
am not confused, I am just well mixed!"
From my own head, I would add;
Iím not much of a poet but I thank God for all who came before me and with me;
wisdom is all around us.
I depend on your wisdom to guide me in making good choices about this business.
All suggestions are considered even if we both know that I canít possibly please
all people, from all houses, from all lines, from all cities, all countries and
all factions of the tradition at the same time. Have mercy on and patience with
- Humility is the largest and the hardest part of freedom
- Beauty is way more important than we understand
- People are the most important part of the "Market Place"
- The Orishas are not here to make the world fit for us, but to make us fit for the world
For more about the process of creating the business called Orisha Accessories, visit
my Blog, "A little mystery".
Stay with "us" as we grow. "We" have the best customers in the world!
In deep and heartfelt gratitude to both the living and the
|"Super Sanaa Msemaji"
Artists in Brazil
|Artists in Nigeria
Artists in Cuba
Customers from 1998-2004
| Bobby Dodd
|FOUNDATION BUILDERS (IBAE)
|Chief and Barbara
|ROYAL TRAILBLAZERS (IBAE)
|Zora Neale Hurston
|Willie Ramos-Ilari Oba
Dona Detinha de Xango
|GODPARENTS; KNOWING AND UNKNOWING
|FRIENDS, ADVISORS AND PURE INSPIRATION