Omi Iyọ

Wall Sculpture

Anna Carnick


Miami Beach Convention Center,
Convention Center Drive and 19th Street,
Miami Beach,
Florida 33139,
December 6 – 10, 2023
Design Miami/  

Palazzo Litta as part of 5VIE Design Week, Milan, Italy.
April 15 - 21, 2024

Design Miami, Best of Show, 2023. 
Curator’s Choice: Design for Good Award, 2023.

Omi Iyọ made its global debut as a special commission at the Design Miami/ fair in December 2023. Anna Carnick, who served as the fair’s 2023 Curatorial Director, invited Marcus-Bello to create the piece in response to the curatorial theme, “Where We Stand: Reflections on Place & Purpose.”

In response to the theme Omi Iyọ was created to highlight and spark a dialogue around migration and in this case, the journey of undocumented migrants from Africa to Europe. The rendered work makes formal reference to the hull of a boat, the primary mode of transport for this hidden (outside of the staggering tragedies that have made recent international headlines), dangerous, and often injurious or fatal journey. The polished stainless steel work—though appearing as a solid mass— is hollow and filled with salt that, over the course of the days, flowed continuously to the ground from a small opening at the sculpture’s base, resulting in a self-patterning heap of crystals beneath the work. Here, salt is symbolic of the Atlantic Ocean, which must be traversed during the maritime passage from the Global South to the Global North; and of its chemical composition as well as the physical treachery it poses to the immigrants who travel across.