Dancing The Bwiti

Oil on canvas.

100cm x 50cm.

Prints available in a range of sizes and art stocks from £40.

An attempt to depict the energy of a traditional Bwitist ceremony, and the energy of the master plant teacher, Iboga.

The Initiation of the Sun is a ten-day rite of passage and purification, culminating in a fifteen-hour long initiation ceremony. This painting depicts the Nima (shaman) about to perform a fire cleanse of the Bandzi’s (those undergoing initiation).

Detail of painting showing the assembled village participating in the ceremony. They flinch and cover their eyes as the flame torch passes overhead.

Whilst dancing, the Nima repeatedly straddles the central fire, (another fire torch made from the resin of the sacred tree Okoumé). To the left of the fire, the contents of the large bowl receive the energy of the ceremony in preparation for its use in a river baptism that takes place as the sun rises the following morning.

Previous initiates of the ceremony wear white and are covered in white kaolin (clay). All present at the ceremony are required to eat small amounts of the highly psychoactive plant Iboga, which will give the energy needed to accomplish such a long ceremony.