The IROKO Project
IROKO is an interdisciplinary, multicultural art and sustainability community projected founded by artist Imna Arroyo and directed by Isis Mattei in a collaboration with the Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut. The project centers around a multimedia installation by Artist Imna Arroyo. The installation will be on display at the Harris Place Atrium and accompanied by community programming April to June, 2016.
Imna Arroyo will create the IROKO tree as an environmental multi-media interdisciplinary art installation inspired by the sacred tree of life also known as Iroko to the Yoruba people of West Africa and those of the African Diaspora; Kapok to the Maya people of Central America and northern South America; Cotton Tree to the Dakota people of North America ; and La Ceiba in the Caribbean.
Through the exploration of materials old and new, traditional and innovative technologies this multi media installation will focus on the mysteries of nature using the Iroko/Kapok/ La Ceiba / Cotton Wood tree as an anchor to express the marvelous power of nature, its continuity and resiliency which hold the promise for a sustainable future if properly nurtured and honored.
The above mentioned cultures have identified this tree through their myths as the first tree of creation and as the essence of reproductive life. It is a home of the gods, goddess, orishas and deities whose enormous presence links humans both to the world of the ancestors through its roots and the realm of the celestial divinities through its branches.
The IROKO project is a collaboration between the artists, scholars and members of the community and over (15) organizations in the New London Community including MS17 Art Project, Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut, Visual Art Library, School and others.