ỌYA BREATHES: Evocation to the Yorùbá God of Death and Rebirth with Michael Manswell


All of us as have two experiences in common — birth and death.  One is greeted with joy and celebration; the other is often accompanied by a wide range of emotions such as fear, relief, sorrow, joy, grief, and loss.  In the process of dying, and in death itself, cultural practices and rituals play a key role in the individual’s and family’s experience of end-of-life. Understanding how death and dying have come to be expressed in culturally-specific traditions and diverse art forms offers remarkable insight into end-of-life situations, allowing healthcare professionals to develop essential cultural competencies and increased empathy.

The End-of-Life Toolkit is a set of resources that accompanies an eLearning course entitled “Heritage to Health:  Harnessing the Power of the Arts for End-of-Life Care”.  The Toolkit provides resources on death and dying, geared to both health professionals and the public.  It contains links to textbooks, stories, poems, cultural perspectives on death and dying, as well as compelling video clips, examples of various art forms, and “how to” information for creating various types of memorials when an individual passes away.  The Toolkit expands the opportunities for healthcare providers to enhance their skills in end-of-life care through the use of the Arts. It focuses on ways to create a culturally sensitive yet individualized environment for those at the end-of-life, using the Arts as a clinical tool for supporting patients’ beliefs, traditions, and customs in a meaningful way.

Developed by City Lore and the Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Here is an interview with Michael Manswell, a Trinidadian Carnival and J'ouvert Artist, and Yoruba Priest of Brooklyn, NY.

Included is a reading of "Oya Breathes" by Steve Zeitlin, Michael Manswell and Martha Dahlen. 

Part of Heritage 2 Health project Harnessing the Power of the Arts in End-of-Life Care. https://citylore.org/special-projects/end-of-life-tool-kit/ 
Produced and Directed by Steve Zeitlin, City Lore, and Phyllis Zimmer, Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foudnation.
Edited by Lee Eaton.

Brooklyn, New York