The work of Afro-Brazilian poet, playwright, essayist, and politician Abdias do Nascimento is rooted in the African tradition. In his paintings he uses symbols, myths, concepts and aphorisms from ancient Egypt and the West African Yoruba and Ashanti ethnic groups. Nascimento’s paintings are populated by Orishas, spirits or supernatural beings from the Yoruba religion in particular, painted in bright, unmixed colours. His work defies traditional art-historical categories, such as figuration or abstraction. Nascimento himself speaks of art as ‘an event of love’, and as ‘a gesture of human and cultural integration’. In the 1970s, Nascimento was very active in the international Pan-African movement and lived for extended periods in exile, where he produced a large part of his oeuvre.