Olokun of the Galaxy

Esther Iverem (Author)


"Olokun of the Galaxy" is a poetry and visual arts book that tells the story of an African spirit of the deepest ocean. Olokun is born when Earth's oceans are born, s/he witnesses the Atlantic Slave Trade, industrial revolution and pollution of the planet's water, and, finally, s/he takes off into space to swim on other planets and moons of the Galaxy where there is water or liquid. Author and artist Esther Iverem developed this hardcover, beautiful book, suitable for older children to the oldest adults, to accompany a series of award-winning Olokun figures she creates from reclaimed pants that she has exhibited across the United States since 2012. Honoring indigenous water protectors and the Movement for Black Lives, some of these "pants dolls" wear medallions that read "Water is Life" and "Mni Micomi or carry small photos of African Americans such as Eric Garner or Miriam Carey killed by state violence. This series and book takes Olokun from this earthly home to other oceans in the universe--including the waters beneath the ice of Europa, the methane lakes of Titan, and the far-off star system of Sirius. Olokun is an ancient and medaled hero and heroine, both matriarch and patriarch, a conduit for embrace, safety and regeneration. S/he is also protector of humanity, urging us to save and conserve our water, which is life.

Product Details

$24.95  $22.95
Seeing Black Press
Publish Date
October 27, 2017
8.5 X 0.25 X 8.5 inches | 0.69 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Esther Iverem is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, producer and curator. In addition to hosting a show on Pacifica Radio, she is founder of the pioneering Black website SeeingBlack.com, a founding member of Split This Rock: Poems of Provocation and Witness and a member of the Association of Women Film Journalists. She is a recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a National Arts Journalism Fellowship at Columbia University. She is the author of We Gotta Have It: Twenty Years of Seeing Black at the Movies (Hachette Book Group) and the author of two books of poems, The Time: Portrait of a Journey Home and Living in Babylon (Africa World Press). Her fiber and multi-media works have been featured in three solo shows, several group shows and acquired for personal collections. In 2013, she curated the show "Emancipation: Meditations of Freedom," at the DCAC-the District of Columbia Arts Center, to mark the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Before working as an independent writer and artist, she was a staff writer for The Washington Post, New York Newsday and the New York Times. She is a native of Philadelphia, a graduate of the University of Southern California and Columbia University, and lives in Washington, DC. www.estheriverem.net


"Esther Iverem's Olokun of the Galaxy is a creation myth for an earth abused by slavery, capital, greed, human waste, excess and the neglect of nature in favor of concrete and death. Iverem, as djeli, links our global climate crisis to the Black Holocaust. She gifts us an epic for the ages that rages through syncopated lines with syntax swimming and singing through our synapses, giving us hope in the midst of the abyss."--Tony Medina, author of I Am Alfonso Jones

Olokun of the Galaxy, by poet and artist Esther Iverem, is a richly imagined work drawn from the West African Yoruba tradition that offers a way to comprehend what is broken and breaking around us--while also conjuring hope, meaning and significance. Grounded in history and culture, this is storytelling that reminds us that what we do matters. The vision within Iverem's book is urgent as we humans struggle to re/learn how to respect the natural world and how to continue to live within its grace."--Melissa Tuckey, editor, Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology