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N'Namdi Center brings Manuel Mendive to Detroit

When his Detroit fans met him last night, Manuel Mendive had barely been in the city a couple of hours. "I met George [N'Namdi] in Miami," Mendive recalled. N'Namdi offered Mendive a show at his N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, and the opening reception was last night. Mendive's art has always been rooted in Yoruba traditions of the African diaspora in Cuba.

Manuel Mendive often includes the double bit axe, a symbol of the god Shango, in his artwork.
Manuel Mendive often includes the double bit axe, a symbol of the god Shango, in his artwork.Alonso del Arte
George N'Namdi (left) and Manuel Mendive at the N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art.
George N'Namdi (left) and Manuel Mendive at the N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art.Alonso del Arte

"The theme of this show is very violent," said Gary Schwartz, an Academy Award-nominated prankster, pointing to the axes in several of Mendive's pieces. "The double bit axe is a symbol of Shango, the god of fertility" in the Yoruba religion, Mendive explained. The axe is thus meant by the artist as a symbol of life, and appears in many of his pieces.

The N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art comprises three galleries. In the Black Box Gallery, there is the work of Osi Audu, and in the Corridor Gallery, some paintings by Charles McGee. The three shows run concurrently and will be up until August 16, according to the center's website.