Assotto's Altar

Assotto's Altar Assotto's Altar

Oshun (Osun, Oxum, Ochun) controls the rivers, creeks, and springs. Transmitted from the West African coast through the Middle Passage, she is an Orisha of fertility, sensuality, love, and purity. She is one of the most venerated divinities of the Yorùba pantheon. Assotto Saint’s poems, prose, and performance pieces utilized imagery of water loa and captured the power in their feminine divinity to create a realistic message of love, between men and for black people across the globe, to fight hate against marginalized communities. Assotto Saint ’s and his life partner Jan Holmgren, collaborated on many of Saint’s performance pieces and their band Xotica/Galiens. Holmgren inspired many of Saint’s best and most transcending works.

Objects Featured: (Top Shelf) Image of Assotto Saint with his partner Jan Holmgren in the style of Oshun, Oshun Orisha Candle, Vile of oil Oshun Sculpture (Cold Cast Resin), Bottle of Pellegrino, Bottle of Barbancourt Rum, and Florida Water. (Bottom Shelf) Plain yellow candle, Sunflower head, Oranges (food offering), Assotto Saint’s Spells of a Voodoo Doll (1994), CD Feeding the Flame: Songs by Men to End AIDS (1992), featuring Saint’s band Xotika and the song “Forever Gay.”

Assotto's Altar Assotto's Altar

Erzulie Freda is a lwa (divinity) unique to the Haitian vodou pantheon. Erzulie Freda is the lwa of love, sex, abundance, and luxury. Although she displays herself in the ideals of femininity, Erzulie Freda blurs the lines of antiquated constructions of masculinity and femininity. She is often called upon by heteronormative women and men, LGBTQ identifying people, and prostitutes. Assotto Saint resisted the arbitrary lines of femininity and masculinity in his life and in his literary and performative works. Saint searched for the history of gay black men and became a prominent figure for gay black history. Flirtatious, ostentatious, and petty as hell, Assotto Saint captured the fierceness of love and the poignancy of loss. 

Objects Featured: (Top Shelf) Image of Assotto Saint in the style of Erzulie Freda, Boa, Faux-Pearl Necklace, False Tiger's Eye Bracelet, Candle of Mater Dolorosa (Christian), and Bowl of water. (Bottom Shelf) Barbie 2015 Birthday Wishes Doll, Honey (food offering), and Cornmeal (food offering).

Assotto's Altar Assotto's Altar

Yemaya (Yemôya, Yemanja) is the Orisha mother of all. Yemaya is a present and prominent Orisha in African-descended religious practices of Santeria and Candomblé. She is often prayed to for fertility, strength, and motherly wisdom, and by survivors of sexual violence. Assotto Saint named Yemaya in many of his works. In his play New Love Song, for instance, Saint’s character Nile recounts the fear and the violence of their rape in their New York City apartment. Saint’s work connects the realities of sexual assault against gay men and the search for peace after trauma. 

Objects Featured: (Top Shelf) Image of Assotto Saint in the style of Yemaya, Yemaya Orisha Candle, Vile of oil, Yemaya Sculpture (Hand Painted Resin), Bottle of rosé wine, and Bottle of Barbancourt rum. (Bottom Shelf) Plain blue candle, Seven Pennies (offering), Incense (ocean wind and lavender), Seashells/starfish, and Bottle of red wine.

Miscellaneous: White floral garland, Assorted Flowers, Gay Pride band, Pan-Africanist flag, Condoms, and Interactive materials.