Archive | July, 2009

TokesPlace Presents:

SACRED SPACES,SACRED FACES: Public Art Sculpture Inspired by traditional African Sources

14 Jul

Akili Ron Anderson designs, fabricates and installs stained glass windows, sculptural forms, fine art paintings and theater sets. He is involved in a range of visual artistic endeavors including teaching, painting, printing, small sculpture, glass work and media (computer graphics, photography, film making, and videography).

This show is an exhibit of a portion of his Sacred Spaces, Sacred Faces sculptures that he created to obtain his recent MFA degree from Howard University.

According to Akili:

Sacred Spaces, Sacred Faces are sculptural works of art I have
created to embolden African spirits in a protected space. “Sacred
Faces” refers to the lovingly familiar images of seen and unseen
ancestors and spirits, whose wisdom and truth rest in the protection
of the “Sacred Spaces”. These works have been created as temples,
ready for willing souls to choose a moral grounding and an
enlightened journey through life. These works are inspired and in
homage to the cultures and peoples of Africa and the African

Akili’s inventive process seems to be similar to that of abstract expressionist. He does no drawings. He gets out of the way and lets it happen. However, somewhere in the process he becomes more willful and deliberative. He then takes control and guides his efforts to a then conceived completion.

Akili’s sculptures are made from found objects. He often collects objects without any
preconceived notions of use. On the other hand he may be working on a project when he serendipitously comes across useful objects. Found objects sometimes suggest a project.

Sacred Spaces, Sacred Faces includes seven sculptures. They are Sankofa Bird Creation, Pyramid, Prayers, Akuaba, Ancestral Beginnings and Spirit Rocket.

Images of Akuaba, Ancestral Beginnings and Spirit Rocket are shown in this exhibit. Unless otherwise stated the presented descriptions and meanings of these images are Akili’s.

Posted by PicasaAkili with Ancestral Beginnings (8’ x 4’ x 3’)

Ancestral Beginnings, in a cultural perspective, represents new beginnings based on the past 500 years of struggle of the peoples and nations of Africa. It is dedicated to the spirits that have lived in the human and the spirit worlds. These spirits are known to revisit the human world after their physical deaths. These are good spirits who come to communicate and guide. It is from these spirits that we find wisdom and protection.

Posted by Picasa
Spirit Rocket (8’X 3’X 3’)

Spirit Rocket is a vehicle to the spirit world. It is a visual manifestation of a delivery system for thoughts, hopes, memories and prayers. Spirit Rocket is the first in this series to combine several of the low relief wall pieces to create a freestanding three-dimensional work. This was also the first piece where the inside area of space was defined as unseen energy, and therefore subject matter. Central to this work, inside the sacred space area is a ceramic sculpture depicting male/female balance.

Akuaba 8’X 5’X 3’

Akuaba is a community fertility symbol. One side of this sculpture is clearly inspired from the Akuaba doll, sometimes worn by women of the Akan people of Ghana, West Africa. This small figurine is worn around the woman’s waist, or prominently displayed in the home, specifically to promote fertility and consequently pregnancy. The work created here is promoting the fertility and prosperity of the African community.

Tokesplace: Note the image of an umbilical cord in the lower center of Akuaba.

The reverse side of Akuaba (see below) features the “Sacred Space” and is intended as the guardian of the Akuaba figure.

Tokesplace: Note the vaginal shape. Also there is a barely discernible human image within the shape perhaps denoting first human.

Akili has exhibited at Duke University, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Howard University Gallery of Fine Arts, the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp, the Weusi Gallery the Miya Gallery and The New Muse. He has exhibited nationally and internationally in group shows, primarily as a member of the “AfriCOBRA” artist collective. He has also designed theater sets for the Ira Aldridge Theater at Howard University (1969), the Kennedy Center, Eisenhower Theater and The DC Black Repertory Theater Company.

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