I prayed to the wrong god for you. [Trailer]

2019 Whitney Biennial, Installation Image 5th Floor Whitney Museum of American Art

2019 Whitney Biennial, Installation Image 5th Floor Whitney Museum of American Art

2019 Whitney Biennial, Installation Image 5th Floor Whitney Museum of American Art

2019 Whitney Biennial, Installation Image 5th Floor Whitney Museum of American Art

2019 Whitney Biennial, Installation Image 5th Floor Whitney Museum of American Art

2019 Whitney Biennial, Installation Image 5th Floor Whitney Museum of American Art

2019 Whitney Biennial, Installation Image 5th Floor Whitney Museum of American Art

2019 Whitney Biennial, Installation Image 5th Floor Whitney Museum of American Art


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


I.

The Witness, 2018-2019

Materials; motorcycle helmet, efun chalk

Dimensions: Variable

II.

Ax Head, Iron Spike, + Horse Shoe Puzzle,

Materials; iron

Dimensions: Variable

III.

The Sewing Box I, 2019

Materials; Wood, + Red Velvet.

Dimensions: Variable

IV.

Shango’s Tools I-VI, 2019

Six hand + machine carved tools

Materials cedar fir wood, blood of rooster, shoe polish, wood stain

Dimensions: Variable

Maine

Maine

Maine

Maine

Maine

Maine

Maine

Caldera Oregon

Caldera Oregon

Caldera Orgeron

Upstate New York

North Philadelphia PA

North Philadelphia PA

Havana Cuba

Havana Cuba

Havana Cuba

Havana Cuba

North Philadelphia | PA

Ibadan, Nigeria

Ibadan Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria

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