Poetry and photography are two dynamic arts that can profoundly engender change. The use of poetry and imagery to express social outrage and protest has an extensive legacy. Art should serve as an impetus for social change and awareness. The arts should also be an inspiration in reflecting what is good and beautiful in our lives. If it cannot, it should demonstrate how to repair, revitalize and restore our society’s balance and harmony. As a teaching artist my goal is to not only broaden and transform a student’s perspective, but to empower them to do the same for themselves and others through the expression of their artistic talents. In this way we encourage and develop artists who are socially responsible humanitarian activists for our future.
Osunyoyin Alake is an African American anthro-photo-journalist, fine arts photographer, initiated priestess of the Yoruba river goddess Osun in Osogbo Nigeria, sidereal astrologer, and poet.
Her photographic explorations include documenting the disappearing religious cultures of the Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria and the Akan speaking peoples of Ghana. Equally important in her photographic exploration, is the spiritual and artistic link that is astonishingly evident between these two West African cultures and ancient Kemit (Egypt).
A lecture and slide show on this photographic study was presented with Nana Kwaku Sakyi at the University of Miami Lowe Art Museum in 2005 and 2006.
Osunyoyin Alake has done numerous photographic studies of African Americans in the Atlantic area (from New York to Miami, Florida) who are priest and practitioners of both the Akan and Yoruba cultures, as well as photographing extensively in Egypt, Spain, Morocco, Southwestern Nigeria and Ghana.
From 1996 to 2005 she has served as the community photographer for the Miami Dade County Parks and Recreation African Heritage Cultural Arts Center where she documented the activities and performances of the after school and summer dance, music and visual arts programs. In addition she captures the joy of motion found in ballet, modern and African dance. She has conducted lectures and slide shows of her international travels in elementary and secondary schools in the Dade County school systems as well as in several private schools in the Miami area.
Her work has been exhibited in numerous places including the African Heritage Cultural Arts center in Miami, NYU, and the Delta Air Lines corporate offices in Atlanta.
The Educators Guide to MoCada (Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art in Brooklyn New York) is a representation of the range of her artistic work. It includes the front cover photograph, twelve photographs inside, a poem called "Eternally Among Us" and a feature article "Home Here: African Art in the Diaspora"
Osunyoyin has appeared in two movies, Joshua Bee Alafia's "Let's Stay Together" and Eric Crow Draven's documentary on spoken word poets in the African American and Latino community, "Episode 7, Stains on My Soul."
Osunyoyin Alake keeps and active lecture schedule where she discusses such topics as traditional African spirituality, the sacred and the feminine in Yoruba culture, the spoken word artist as griot, poetry and international travel for women traveling alone. She currently lives in New York City where she teaches photography and ekphrastic poetry in the public schools.