Velma Rosai: The Ways of My Serpent Mother Are Strange

5229 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90027
Jan 07, 12 PM - 5 PM — ends Feb 04, 2023
Sarah Brook Gallery is pleased to announce, “The Ways of My Serpent Mother Are Strange,” the debut solo exhibition by Kenyan artist Velma Rosai. With this exhibition, Rosai pulls from her African heritage and Haiti’s snake mythology to create dream-woven abstract paintings on paper.

The form of the snake is phallic but her spirit is maternal, linking sexual power to creativity. The admiration and worship of the snake in these cultures centers on the snake’s powers of rebirth, embodied by the shedding of her skin. The snake periodically creates a three-dimensional embossment of itself, a portal which the sprit can then stand apart from, view, and move through. In this shedding/creation of an imprint of the body, the subject become sexaminable object, both aligned with and departed from. In this way the snake shedding her skin is like the making of the artwork, bringing into view that which is unspeakable.

The cyclical nature of the body’s rituals, including its dreams, can be counted on to yield what is needed. We are reborn from ourselves, from within, we are our own serpent mothers and the daughters of our birth mothers as well.

This dual continuity is evoked by the superimposition of ourselves upon our mothers ad infinitum back through history, touching our ancestry through the birth/rebirth cycle. Every moment of birth touches with all the birth of the past and all the birth of the future. In this way, we form intrinsic consciousness with all that came before and all that will follow. We see that while nothing belongs to us alone, we are a part of everything. There is no death, only regeneration, only perpetual and resplendent motherhood. We follow the lines of the body, spiraling out around and around again, apprehending feelings that are deeply present within us all.

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Velma Rosai earned a BA in 2012 from Monash University in South Africa and Australia. Rosai completed artist in residence programs in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2021 as well as London, UK in 2022. She currently lives and works between Nairobi and Lamu Island, which is off the coast of Kenya in the Indian Ocean.