'Orgao' is Laolu Senbanjo's most recent work from May 2012. This piece is so unique and different than anything he has ever done. It's a magnificent wonder to look at. 'Orgao' is a visual representation of someone who's on their knees at the mercy of pleasure, wisdom and knowledge in an orgasm. Orgasm is best defined as: to swell with moisture. Another definition found was: your sexual energy, a creative breakthough, or an attempt to satisfy sexual or creative needs that are denied or represented in waking life. Everyone has their own descriptions of what an orgasm is to them. In this work the orgasm is present in four forms: the heart, the body, the mind and soul.
The body is the most evident in this work. Initially one would think that this is a man, but if you notice that the topography and contours on the body represent a map. Yet, you see there is no topography on the volcano. This is a man and the orgasm, is the mystery of the African thought pattern, which is better known as "Afromysterics." The contours are so sexy and sensual showing off each curve of the man. The man is holding a pot and this is symbolic for wisdom from Ancient Egyptians. Beneath the body is a red river flowing of blood, this river also represents the River of Styx, notice the Angel of Death pushing a boat down the river to Hell. Make note of the two cities, two different cities, one 'good' and one 'bad' but in the end, they both lead to hell. The man is submitting himself to both his orgasm and to the world around him. He knows that this orgasm will lead him both to pleasure and pain, yet he still chooses to submit him to it. Beside the River of Styx is Lagos and it's in a flood of fire. See the toxic sign above it, it's showing us that one day Lagos will be under water and will be toxic because of the way we are caring for our world around us, this shows us that we are living in a time of environmental chaos.
The heart is near the centre of this piece. You can see the couple wrapped around each other and the guitar. You see the man is singing and making music the to the woman beside him. The guitar is the heartbeat and the melody to this work. The couple is happy in love and you can see Big Brother and wisdom above them, questioning them, yet, true love is prevailing because they march to the beat of their own drum, unflinching from the doubt around them. Beside the heart you will notice Death in search of happiness but we all know that no matter how much money you have in your purse that you cannot buy happiness. It's just like an orgasm, nothing can take the place of it, and in most circumstances it's free, we can even create one ourselves… Above their you will see the scales; this represents the balance that we are all trying to walk in our lives; the checks and balances in all aspects of life. Too much of a good thing is actually very bad for us. This is why without pain, there is no pleasure; It will never be as sweet without suffering, pain or sorrow.
Notice the brain and disconnection at the bottom of the piece. The reason for this is because often in the height of orgasm, no one is connected to their wisdom, it's all physical, you just feel, riding the waves of enjoyment and pleasure.
Moving onto the mind. You can see the mind all over the place here. You notice all of the brains representing wisdom. Also, look at the medical symbol, the scales, and the filigree. These all represent the thoughts floating through the mind during an orgasm. The mind cannot handle was the orgasm gives, it's like the rapture comes and takes away all senses yet gives you even more senses at the same time. All the mind can do is shut down and let go and go with the flow, that's what the filigree tells us.
The soul is represented in a small ways all throughout. For example, the soul is represented in the 'ilari' (comb) (which exemplifies beauty). The Lilith figure also shows beauty but you can also see the sadness and pain in her as she seeks splendor and elegance. We all seek beauty and often go to great lengths to be seen as beautiful but often, no money or no words can make someone feel beautiful. Notice the sadness that surrounds her, it goes so deep down to the soul. The foot implies that we are searching and longing for something, in 'Orgao' this is all about pleasure, knowledge and wisdom, but with these things pain often comes. The soul is also looking for peace and the drum implies a search for a different path or beat, everything leads to peace of mind, that serenity and glow or aura that you feel after you've reached your peak.
Sin and vice are represented in this work especially in the lower half because most of us are at the mercy of such things and are fighting for a balance of good and evil in our worlds. We are all sinners at times and we bend down and beg forgiveness, so this position is interesting and a strong juxtaposition because instead of receiving forgiveness they are receiving the ultimate pleasure, the 'orgao.' We all know that without pain there can be no pleasure, this is so evident here.
There is so much going on in this work, which is typical of Laolu's storytelling style. He loves to show different parts of life and society and this is no different but just like when one has an orgasm, it's all consuming and encompasses and envelopes ones entire body, mind, heart and soul. When an orgasm is building up it's as if you think of everything and nothing all at one and then you explode. Afromysterics is the mystery of the African thought pattern. We can use our words to describe an orgasm but usually the best way to describe orgasm is in a facial gesture and a sigh or a moan because a good orgasm is almost indescribable.
One of my favourite parts of this work is the hidden 'power' button. This to me symbolizes the clitoris for the woman or the head of the penis for the man because for most of us, all you have to do is rub it the right way and Bam! An orgasmic explosion may erupt but it's hidden just like on our bodies. It's so symbolic and on point.