Exhibition: March 25-June 10, 2016. Arts Incubator 301 E. Garfield Blvd. Chicago.
The functional purpose of doors— to serve as entry points or barriers to a space— alludes to ideas of access, privacy, control, and protection. In religion and mythology, doors symbolically represent transition, new beginnings, welcomed endings, or the passage from one world to another.
Dayo Laoye is a Nigeria-born artist who has spent the past two decades making work as the result of an ongoing investigation into how African cultures and traditions manifest in the Americas. In the 1990s, Laoye took these ideas and applied them to discarded doors that he found and reclaimed from rehabilitated buildings in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. He began painting doors to simultaneously represent the Orisas of his Yoruba heritage as well as Afro-Caribbean Santeria and Brazilian Candomble deities. In Laoye's vision, this series of doors, titled ILEKUN, are tributes to the Orisas and echo exactly what Orisa deities represent— the passage, the protectors, and the mediators.