Hello Everyone! I know that it has been a while but Itan project lives. Over the past six months I have been traveling in Nigeria learning the traditional Yoruba arts of weaving, dyeing and woodcarving. I have had the incredible opportunity to work with incredible artists at the Nike Centers For Art And Culture, an organization founded by the legendary artist Chief Nike Okundaye. Chief Nike has provided arts training for underserved Nigerians for over thirty years. She has not only fostered the Nigerian arts community, she has helped to revive the Yoruba arts of Adire , and Aso Ofi (women’s loom weaving). Art as a source of cultural empowerment is one of the core facets of Itan Project and It has been an honor learning here from such an amazing woman. As I reach the midway point in my residency with Arts Connect International, I reflect on my experiences and their impact on my perception of identity and the nature of my work. Spending time in Osogbo and Ogidi has made me think about the relationships that exist between Africa and the Diaspora and the common challenges that we face as Black people in both contexts. In both Africa and in the Americas there is a struggle to recover from the internalized effects of colonialism, slavery and generations of racially biased and/or exploitative systems. In Nigeria many of these arts face extinction as their value is questioned. The work I create is meant to encourage viewers to examine their perception of the African past and their relationship to it, while also attempting to highlight even a fraction of the immense beauty and complexity of Yoruba art and culture . Over the next five months I will be posting updates on the project as well as the collaborative work I am doing within these artists communities. Stay tuned there is more to come!