Susan Matthews


Secrets Under the Skin

Odu Aremu by Susan Matthews

In 2005 I joined a collaboration called “Secrets Under the Skin”, a project which connects a small team of contemporary urban artists in the US and Cuba with traditional spiritual practitioners in rural Cuba and Ghana. Through her study as a dancer, Jill Flanders Crosby, our project director, discovered striking similarities between the ritual music, dance, and language in Perico, a town in Cuba, and that of Dzodze, a small village in Ghana. Our project has facilitated communication between them. We have developed a multi media exhibition and installation reflecting our interaction with the people in Perico and Dzodze, utilizing dance, video, and visual art. Secrets Under the Skin was exhibited at the Ludwig Foundation in Havana, and the Museo Constantino Barrero Guerra in Perico in December 2010, and in early 2011 at The Kimura Gallery at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and The Bunnell Street Gallery in Homer, Alaska.

My contribution to the project includes eight large acrylic paintings on canvas and 20 illuminated manuscripts on paper. These works contain images, portraits and narratives from Perico and Dzodze. Ultimately, I plan to create an artist’s book from high quality prints of my manuscripts and paintings as a gift to the museum in Perico. Throughout the process we have given prints, videos, and photographs to the people of Dzodze and Perico.

Please see for a complete discussion of the project, reproductions of the paintings and manuscripts, videos, and photographs.

View a few of the images from Secrets Under the Skin




Secrets Under The Skin



Secrets Under The Skin

Exhibition History

Artist Statement


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