Saara Obele’s exhibition opens a door to the fascinating world of tarot cards. The exhibition presents an intersectional, feminist deck of cards illustrated by Obele, along with a guidebook written by Noora Al-Ani and Sophia Wekesa (Like 2022). The exhibition also includes new watercolor and gouache paintings, through which the artist addresses the rich symbolism of tarot and also the illustrator’s inner thoughts and feelings, which are always present in the images in some way.
For an illustrator, tarot cards provide a rewarding subject, as a traditional deck consists of 78 illustrated cards. According to Obele, the world of tarot goes deep into the heart of the human experience and, at their best, the cards can provide a roadmap for how to process your feelings. The history of tarot reaches back over centuries, and the traditional imagery consisting mainly of white bearded men sitting on thrones could do with an update to make the cards more approachable and accessible to as many people as possible. Obele has also explored the subject in their recent thesis for the Master’s Programme in Art and Media at Aalto University titled Kuka istuu valtaistuimella ‒ Intersektionaalinen feminismi tarot-kuvitustaiteessa (Who Sits on the Throne – Intersectional Feminism in Tarot Illustrations).