Orisun Omi means "the source of water" in Yoruba, and it was taken as the
title of this film because no matter how things may change, "the well remains the same."
Beautiful dancers will always be beautiful dancers, and there are many beautiful dancers
in Orisun Omi, hard at work in a luminous tropical springtime.
Beautiful Bahia has been called the Africa of the Americas, and the African cultures
brought there by the slave trade remain a dominant influence today. When in 1978 Arthur
Hall and three members of Ile Ife in Philadelphia traveled to Bahia, they found that
between the English speaking North Americans and the Portuguese speaking South Americans,
the common language was Yoruba.
Orisun Omi explores the cultures common to both Bahia and
Philadelphia. Dances include a strong men's company burning up the Ghanaian Harvest, a
strong women's company burning up Celebration, and Dance Conga, Mascaron, and Yanvallu.
Arthur Hall as Obatala presides over the whole.
Ile Ife Film of Bayne Wms Film MICA
1982, 29 minutes
16mm original, color and B&W
Arthur Hall, choreography
Bruce Williams, filmmaker
Farel Johnson [Hafiz Shabazz], music director
Tamba, Washington, musicians
Reginaldo Daniel Flores, songs of the Orishas
Ron Payton, dancer with members of state ballet,
the federal university and the community of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
with the support of
Philadelphia Bahia Club of the Partners of the Americas, Valley Filmworks,
Coca-Cola Company e Refrigerantes da Bahia S.A., Maine Arts Commission,
Universidade Federal da Bahia, US Information Service,
Associacao Cultural Brasil-Estados Unidos, Hotel Casa Grande, Hans DuPluy,
Clyde Morgan da UFBA, Monika Solkosky, Teatro Castro Alves
"Awo, awo, awo," the film says, meaning many things are hidden.
Orisun Omi travels to the well for those with eyes to see.
Orisun Omi was first shown at the
Philadelphia Museum of Art
during the exhibition Treasures of Ancient Nigeria.
It has been screened at Ile Ife in Philadelphia and in Ile-Ife in Nigeria.
The film was last seen officially in Philadelphia at the
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts during the city's
tribute to Arthur Hall in 1993.
The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
"Officially" because someone in Philadelphia has Arthur's 16mm print of
Orisun Omi, which disappeared when the Ile Ife Center
closed in 1989.
Orisun Omi was also screened April 14, 1996 at the
Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine
(see press release).
Index of Ile Ife Films
The Arthur Hall Collection Index
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