Désert’s take on the image of the Black Madonna and the Divine Feminine is expressed with a motif
of Josephine Baker – a recurring inspiration for the artist whose “interests lie less with Josephine Baker, the person, but rather with Baker as an iconic symbol that allows for a collective imagining.”
The Shrine of the Divine Negress belongs to a series of works titled the “Goddess Constellations''. This particular piece, created initially for installation at the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabana at the 10th Havana Biennale, elevates Baker yet again. Surrounding her likeness are twelve butterflies – perhaps emblematic of the twelve children she adopted during her lifetime.
It can also be interpreted as invoking a quote from Kofi Annan, in his address for the receipt of the nobel prize in 2001: “Scientists tell us that the world of nature is so small and interdependent that a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon rainforest can generate a violent storm on the other side of the earth.”
Text: Mokia Laisin
2009 Installation at the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabana in conjunction with the 10th Havana Biennale (re-installed at DadaPost Berlin in 2010) The original installation included a shroud with the image of Charlemagne Péralte, the martyred Haitian nationalist
Shrine of the Divine Negress Nr.1
Material & Format:
2009: Installation, PVC, acrylic paint, colored gels, textile ribbon, 400 x 275 cm.