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

Opá Oba presents a contemporary twist to the materiality of the scepter used by royalty of the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria. My design direction was chosen to highlight how globalization has played a key-role in the way products are being made in Africa. Only a select few in Yoruba society are permitted to wear or use beaded objects. A Yoruba King’s scepter and crown are typically embellished with beaded embroidery to connote power by divine sanction. The traditional embroidery used red jasper beads imported from Burkina Faso, fashioned and polished at Oyo-Ile (Old Oyo) in Nigeria. Today, the crowns and scepters are embellished with imported colored beads from England. The use of these same imported beads for a toilet paper holder was a tongue-in-cheek response to the exhibition theme “Under / Over”, thus designing a throne fit for a king.