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NEW YORK, NY December 27, 2021 The recent public installation curated by Harlem Needle Arts features Iya Alaro by multi-disciplinary artist Oluwaseyi (Shayee) Awoyomi showing at Harlem’s Colonel Charles Young Triangle at 153rd Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. The installation is free, and open daily to the public through December 15, 2022.
Oluwaseyi’s installation tells the story and origin of the Iya Alaro translated as “Mother of Dyers”, indigo dyers and women’s relationship to their community through textile design. Indigo dyed textile is known in Yorubaland as Adire which translates as (adi) “to tie” and (re) “to dye.”
The honor of Mother of Dyers comes with great responsibility overseeing the process of harvesting the indigo plant, prepping the dye baths, composition of solvents, and organization of the community of women. Once the Adire is ready for market, the “Iyaloja” translated as the “Mother of the Market” is selected.
The Mother of the Market comes with its own honor of Chieftaincy and obligation as she is voted in by the fellow market women and or nominated by the King or even politically chosen. The Adire textile is prepared for the coronation of Mother of the Marketas she governs the business of women in the market and their welfare.
A fifth generation Adire dyer Oluwaseyi is birthed into a family of visual and performing artists with her parents being the honorable Chief Nike Davies Okundaye and Prince Twins Seven-Seven.
Iya Alaro is part of Indigenous Threads a public art series representing the origins of traditional African textile. The installation is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional funding and support from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Harlem Community Development Corporation, and New York State Council on the Arts.
While viewing Iya Alaro please follow all necessary protocols related to social distancing and mask wearing.