Orisun Omi (The Well)

Orisun Omi (The Well) from Ile Ife Films on Vimeo.

Orisun Omi means "the source of water" in Yoruba, and it was taken as the title of this film because no matter how things may change, "the well remains the same." Beautiful dancers will always be beautiful dancers, and there are many beautiful dancers in Orisun Omi, hard at work in a luminous tropical springtime.

Beautiful Bahia has been called the Africa of the Americas, and the African cultures brought there by the slave trade remain a dominant influence today. When in 1978 Arthur Hall and three members of Ile Ife in Philadelphia traveled to Bahia, they found that between the English speaking North Americans and the Portuguese speaking South Americans, the common language was Yoruba.

Orisun Omi explores the cultures common to both Bahia and Philadelphia. Dances include a strong men's company burning up the Ghanaian Harvest, a strong women's company burning up Celebration, and Dance Conga, Mascaron, and Yanvallu. Arthur Hall as Obatala presides over the whole.

Orisun Omi
(The Well)

By Bruce Williams
Ile Ife Film of Bayne Wms Film MICA
(1982, color and black and white, 28:48)

Arthur Hall, choreography, artistic director
Bruce Williams, filmmaker
Farel Johnson, music director
Tamba, Washington, musicians
Reginaldo Daniel Flores, songs of the Orishas
Ron Payton, dancer with members of state ballet,
the federal university and the community of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil

with the support of
Philadelphia Bahia Club of the Partners of the Americas, Valley Filmworks,
Coca-Cola Company e Refrigerantes da Bahia S.A., Maine Arts Commission,
Universidade Federal da Bahia, US Information Service,
Associacao Cultural Brasil-Estados Unidos, Hotel Casa Grande, Hans DuPluy,
Clyde Morgan da UFBA, Monika Solkosky, Teatro Castro Alves

Available on DVD

To inquire
email or use response form
or write
The Arthur Hall Collection
754 Mount Ephraim Road
Searsport, Maine 04974
or call 207-548-2445

"Awo, awo, awo," the film says, meaning many things are hidden. What is revealed contains further mysteries.
Orisun Omi travels to the well for those with eyes to see.

Orisun Omi was first shown at the Philadelphia Museum of Art during the exhibition Treasures of Ancient Nigeria.
It has been screened at Ile Ife in Philadelphia and in Nigeria.
About the controversy over the film in Nigeria, see Shango.
The film was last seen in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
during the city's tribute to Arthur Hall in 1995.

The Pennsylvania Academy of Art

Arthur's 16mm print of Orisun Omi, one of two prints of the film ever made, remains in Philadelphia
in the keeping of Evangeline Brown. Its condition is unknown.
The 16mm print in the Arthur Hall Collection is damaged at the tail.
It was last screened April 14, 1996, at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. (see
press release)

Arthur Hall | The Arthur Hall Collection | Ile Ife Films