Mother and the Presence of Myth (NEW)
Mother and The Presence of Myth
About the Work

From the Artist

Mothers and the Presence of Myth is based on Yoruba culture (from Nigeria). The form of these images is derived from shrine wall paintings done by women. They use a color scheme dominated by darks (dudu), oranges and reds (pupa), and lights (funfun). Ase (ashe) is a Yoruba concept of the animating force found in the universe. A dupe o means "we give thanks." Oriki fun a won 'ya wa’ is "praise song for our mothers." Birds often represent the spiritual power of women and snakes can symbolize ase coming down in lightning from Shango, the orisha [deity] of thunder and power. The work is a tribute to my mother/our mothers and their power and blessings as expressed through Yoruba culture, one of the major foundations of African American culture.
—From Brandywine Workshop and Archives records

My belief is that art is best as the articulation of spiritual ideas or transformative intention. It can be an agent of spiritual inspiration or personal and social transformation. My conviction is that the best expression presents individual creativity within a collective context or awareness; form represents a means or an aid to an end rather than an end in itself.

For the past 14 years the forms I have used have been based upon the rhythmic, organized grid of African American quilts. To this now has been added a series quoting from and inspired by shrine paintings done by Yoruba women. I have improvised in ways that reflect an attempt to discover a symbolic relationship between African American musical expression and the visual organization of the works based in quilting. The shrine works deal with the sense of ritual performance and family tribute and the sense of sacred space. The process of creating art represents a path of discovery rather than a state of mastery, and the work at any point provides a glimpse of an act of becoming.
—From Brandywine Workshop and Archives records

About the Artist

Artist, professor, scholar, and curator Michael D. Harris is from Cleveland, OH. He earned a BFA and MFA from Howard University, Washington, DC, and a PhD in art history from Yale University, New Haven, CT.

Harris has published and co-...

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Mother and The Presence of Myth


Offset Lithograph




30" x 21.67"

Edition Size

100 prints in this edition


Robert "Bob" Franklin


Brandywine Workshop and Archives


Philadelphia, PA