Oil on Belgian Linen, 20" x 24"
Oshun, the orisha of love, harmony, and beauty, gazes knowingly at the viewer. Depicted as both ebony-toned and fair-toned, with golden markings suggestive of vitiligo, the dual figures of Oshun show that beauty comes in all forms. The goddess of love and protector of courtesans lounges in a boudoir awash in luxurious silk taffeta, velvet, and linen, its textiles rendered delicately with many thin layers of paint to achieve softness. The peacock, an attribute of Oshun, is seen throughout the work: two are poised as her spirit animal in the background, and its resplendent feathers decorate the bejeweled fan.
The painting’s artistic model is Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s The Grande Odalisque (1814), in which a Turkish female attendant with fair skin, lighter than the general population of the region, lounges across the painting. Rosales’s subversion of Ingres’s work not only speaks to Black beauty and beauty in all forms, but also addresses the issue of colorism prevalent in art and in Lucumí.