Tiona Nekkia McClodden’s I prayed to the wrong god for you. combines video and sculptural elements in a highly personal ritual dedicated to Shango, a deity or Orisha within the Afro-Cuban religion Santería/Lucumí whose origins can be traced to the Yoruba people of Nigeria. In this project McClodden merges her spiritual requirements as a priestess of Ogun and artistic work to repair a period of personal exhaustion and to confront the relationship between Christianity and colonialism that was imposed on the artist’s ancestors: enslaved Africans, Black southerners. To begin this project McClodden cut down a cedar fir tree (a hybrid wood, distinct from the pure cedar traditionally associated with Shango) and carved six tools from cedar fir.
Traveling with these objects across the United States, Cuba, and Nigeria, the artist engaged in ritual with Shango, employing the helmet on view here as a ceremonial witness. The videos, which chart the labor and time of this undertaking, offer an account of diasporic devotion and the significance of objects as storytellers.
Six - Channel Multimedia Installation
TRT: Endless duration
The Witness, 2018-2019
Materials; motorcycle helmet, efun chalk
Ax Head, Iron Spike, + Horse Shoe Puzzle,
The Sewing Box I, 2019
Materials; Wood, + Red Velvet.
Shango’s Tools I-VI, 2019
Six hand + machine carved tools
Materials cedar fir wood, blood of rooster, shoe polish, wood stain