ọpá ọba

Product Design / Functional Sculpture 

Year: 2020

Production Status: Limited Edition

Copper Weave and Beading:  Omotoso Itunuoluwapelumi

Client:  Marta Los Angeles / Plant PAPER

Location: Los Angeles, California, USA. 

Images:   Brian Guido

A contemporary twist to the materiality of the scepter of royalty in the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria. Here the materiality is translated to a simple form of toilet roll holder for Marta Los Angeles and PLANT PAPER company’s group exhibition “Under / Over”. The design direction was to highlight how globalization has played a key-role in the way products are being made in Africa. A Yoruba King’s scepter or crowns, embellished with beaded embroidery, connote power by divine sanction. Only a select few in Yoruba society are permitted to wear or use beaded objects, including kings, chiefs, princes, priests, diviners and native doctors.
Today, crowns are embellished with imported colored beads from England. Formerly, red jasper beads were imported from Burkina Faso and fashioned and polished at Oyo-Ile (Old Oyo) in Nigeria. The art of beading, or stringing, follows the serial process and seriate composition of Yoruba art, an extension of the fundamental principle of ase. Ase or ashe (from Yoruba) is a West African philosophical concept through which the Yoruba of Nigeria conceive the power to make things happen and produce change.