The exhibit features an extensive collection of paintings and drawings by Abba Yahudah that illustrate the history, people, and ideas referenced in his latest book, A Journey to The Roots of Rastafari. In that spirit, the exhibit serves as both a celebration of Abba Yahudah’s artwork as well as a launch for the release of the book.
“Abba Yahudah has gone where no book has gone before in documenting different aspects of the Rastafarian phenomenon.
In this book, you will be presented with information about what preceded the Rastafarians and see how this prehistory helped shape the philosophy and livity (life) of the Rastafarians, both in their original beginnings and in their present evolution. Abba Yahudah will take you to Ethiopa – to Egypt – to Palestine. He examines the role of Christianity in shaping movement, and the movement’s connection to ancient Egypt. See how the redactors of the King James Bible usurped the original intent of the scribes writing some three to four thousand years ago.”
Poet, Author and Activist
Throughout the course of the exhibit, Oakstop will host a series of artist talks and book signing events, where guests will have the opportunity to hear more from Abba Yahuda about the underpinnings of this incredible book, which took nearly twenty years to research, compose, illustrate, and edit. The artist talks or “Reasoning Sessions” are designed to delve deeper into the ideas referenced in the book by encouraging participants think critically about historical fact vs fiction, contemplate the affects of art on the psyche, and dissect the relationships between spirituality and power found in most religions.
The exhibit itself is meant to serve as a springboard for ongoing movement building around the book and the core tenets of Rastafari. We’re excited and honored to be hosting such a dynamic project at Oakstop!
More about the author and artist, Abba Yahudah:
Born in St. Catherine, Jamaica to a family of artists and builders. Abba Yahudah vowed early in life to devote himself totally to art making everything he did a creative exercise. By age ten, he developed a very detailed eye, showing remarkable skill with the pencil and could draw and render the identical likeness of anything he saw. “I seriously took up painting at about age thirteen, some watercolor, but mostly oils. Supplies were expensive so we explored many other cost free creative outlets, such as pottery, carving and writing.”
Abba Yahudah migrated to the United States in 1981 and at the age of fifteen took his first job as a sign painter, intimately exposing him to typography and layout. Several of his works were published in local and national media such as Sights and Sounds, The Apprentice Writer and Student Voice. While living in New York he enrolled in 1985 in Parson’s School of Design, majoring in graphic design. A year later, he enrolled in the School of Visual Arts, majoring in design and illustration. In 1987 Abba Yahudah was working as an art director/ illustrator for one of the larger design firms in Manhattan. He designed and illustrated for companies such as Sony, Sharp, Revlon, Maxwell House, and Pepsi, to name a few. In 1996, he opened the first Rastafarian Gallery in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calling it Lalibela after the monolithic churches of Ethiopia’s New Jerusalem.
His art has traveled internationally to Ethiopia exhibiting at the Habesha and Lela Art Galleries, to the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., as well as many galleries in the San Francisco Bay Area.