In Search of African Continuum : Sacred Ceremonies and Rituals
Photography By Bryan C. Wiley
About In Search of African Continuum
The first time I saw a spirit-filled ceremony outside of an American Black church was in Nigeria in 1992. I went to see Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the internationally renowned Afro-beat musician, who died in 1997. Before he performed, he sacrificed a chicken on stage, calling on the spirits of his ancestors. To this day, it is difficult to describe the power of the spirit that flowed through that auditorium. I've never seen anything quite like that before.
In many ways, it thrust me back to my childhood, to the days when I hugged my grandmother’s knee in a West Philadelphia church as she “caught the Holy Ghost,” danced for the Lord and spoke in foreign, unknown tongues. I suspect her dancing, channeling of the spirit, precisely duplicated what my ancestors had done in Guinea, West Africa, generations earlier. Having grown up in a home that believed in worship, I’ve always recognized the existence of spirits. But like many people throughout the world, I was largely ignorant about the connectivity.
It is my hope that my life-altering experiences conveyed in this book will shed some light about the African Continuum —both geographic and historic— of the sacred ceremonies, and help dissolve the superstitions that blind us of understanding.
View Select Images from the Book
Creating the African Diaspora Migration Map Exhibition Mural
The Diaspora Migration map illustration was a collaborative effort with East Bay graphic artist Miguel A. Osorio. It illustrates the migration and location of the African Diaspora along with the countries I photographed.
The composition was completed in various stages using Photoshop by taking initial pencil sketches of old maps and relevant subject iconography that was scanned and digitized. A sheet of textured paper was shot with a high-resolution digital camera comprised the base for the ancient look. We used an icon of a slave ship to show the beginning and end of the African slaves’ migration. Simulated burnt edges, tears and old ink saturation were created with various layers and masks to give the piece the look of a map that stood the test of time.