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Catalog Data

Created by:
Jeff Donaldson, American, 1932 - 2004  Search this
Subject of:
AfriCOBRA, founded 1968  Search this
paint, foil, and ink on cardboard
H x W (artwork): 36 1/4 × 25 9/16 in. (92 × 65 cm)
H x W x D (frame): 38 1/16 × 27 7/16 × 1 3/4 in. (96.7 × 69.7 × 4.5 cm)
mixed media
Wives of Sango depicts three women who are symbolic representations of deities in the Yoruba religion of Nigeria. They also are the wives of Sango—deity of fire, thunder, and justice. On the left is the orisha Oya, goddess of the Niger River, dynamism, tornadoes, feminine leadership, and justice. Oba, the central figure, is goddess of the Oba River. To the right is Osun, goddess of the Oshugbo River, who represents love, wealth, and fertility. Distinct in their own right, together, they share a common bond—the revolutionary battle to gain freedom from mental, social, and political oppression.
According to Donaldson, these orishas are a visualization of the present, an invitation to action, and a basis for hope in the future.
This mixed media artwork by Jeff Donaldson shows the Wives of Sango. Three women are visible in the painting. The woman in the center is facing outward dressed in white. The other two women are in 3/4 profile facing either side of the frame. The woman on the left is dressed in shades of red and pink with a silver-colored diamond patterned neckline with small cutouts. The woman on the right is wearing a headband and is dressed in shades of green and yellow. All three women have gold- and silver-colored foil accents and are wearing weaponry including knives and ammunition belts. At the bottom in silver-colored foil is text that reads [OYA · OSUN / AND OBA WIVES OF SANGO]. At the center bottom is a double headed axe symbol. The artist signed the work at the bottom. The artwork is floating in a white frame.
African American  Search this
Africa  Search this
African diaspora  Search this
Art  Search this
Black power  Search this
Religion  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
© Jeff Donaldson
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See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Visual Arts
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture