— PROJECT NAME
Visions of Orishas
A collaboration between body artist, Vonetta Berry and performing Artist, Mukomi Darrett, that began as a conversation about the strengths of the orisha of the Yoruba spiritual tradition. The two artists began to cultivate the many images, from cultures all over the world, Vonetta began to harvest the images to create the ultimate orisha Totem for each model. Mukomi verified the accuracy of the imagery and the attributes of each deity. Together they developed the images that would come to be in the show. Teidra, who embodies Yemoya, has choreographed a dance to accompany the photographs for the exhibition.
As an artist whose work takes on an nontraditional exhibition format of one part photography, one part performance and one part installation, Vonetta Berry has been exploring ways to effectively present works. Through her time in undergrad, she focused herself on two dimensional work and time arts. Now her palette includes staging bodyart happenings and creating experiential work. These events are tactile and auditory in nature and require more planning and forethought. Currently her body of work explores themes dealing with unity, relationships and spirituality. “I believe my role is to promote the conversations that lead to the shift in consciousness.”
She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in illustration and animation. Her process is a blend of many different backgrounds. She has studied fine painting and photography, as well, and has studied all over the world under such international body painting talents as Filippo Ioco, Craig Tracy, and Yolanda Bartram, while participating in the World Body Painting Championship in Austria. “I have worked to blend these skills to make my body painting images intriguing and captivating, while also melding tromp l’oeil (fool the eye) techniques utilized by my favorite artists—Escher and Magritte,” says the Vonetta. She also a mother of two, and stays active in her community.
Mukomi Darrett, Houston native, has always been an interesting combination of introvert and diva. A homeschooling stay at home mom by day, she comes to life on stage whether she’s acting or dancing. Performing since the age of 5, she has studied several styles of dance ranging from classical ballet to hip hop. Her love of Black history and culture brought her to traditional West African dance. She has trained all over the country under masters of Afrikan dance like Youssouf Koumbassa, Baba Chuck Davis and Mohammed Diaby. A founding member of the Texas Southern University Dance Company, she served as president for 2 terms. Acting credits include "Our Feet Can Tell a Story…" written by Thomas Meloncon and "For Colored Girls…" under the direction Shirley Whitmore. Currently, she dances professionally and has previously served as executive director of Kucheza Ngoma Dance Company.