The Gate of Ritual / The entrance to the male body

Five angels/Malaikawatano

This drawing in pen,using ink and watercolour, is one of a pair featuring the five angels.

Malaikawatano has a tragic feel to it.

(Malaikawatano (2) is characterised by comedy). Drawn gracefully, with a tension between movement and stasis, the inked drawing represents the arrival of the African Eros. Like the European Eros, this god is connected to life and death: he holds a drinking vessel in his right hand and a skull in his left. (The Eros of European art was both funerary and living god, a deep awareness often played out in poetical jokes about how orgasm is a “little death”). Orokie’s African Eros, however, is every bit an Orokie creation! This Eros is man, not boy, and is a modern working of traditional and sacred African art. His double nature links him to AIDS, an ungodly virus that continues to ravage life.

The five angels depicted in this drawing represent the five senses. They are the five aspects of Eros. Three, with fully responsive wings, sense the ecstasy of the god; two, with fallen wings, turn away. Consequently, there is a turning in the drawing from response to the divine to self-fascination. A vein of prophecy and trauma enters the fourth angel whose spiritual head is incised. This drawing is a major expression of a significant theme in Orokie’s recent art: paradise and loss, rising and fall.


Malaikawatano (1)






Five angels/Malaikawatano

The Five Angels.

(For Orokie).

Porgo la carta bianca

á vostri sacri inchiostri…

“I devote my white paper

To sacred marks of ink”,

So angels might dance

And fly above their senses--

To know more freely the beat of blood--

And scent the breath of love

On a lover’s skin--

To feel the body’s canvas:

Its vision,


“I believe”,

l’arco subito torse,

In the arc of the spine

And bones’ blood-memory--

And a torso

“Bent by love”

Like a warrior’s “bow”.

Through the touch

And taste of life,

We seed

Earth’s paradise.

35 x 50 cm , Ink and Watercolour