. “Unbreakable” Contemporized Yoruba Oshun Divination Vessel
In Yoruba culture Oshun is an orisha or, deity, that reflects one of God’s manifestations. She symbolizes fertility, love, beauty, luxury and pleasure. She is the mother of the river. Most notably the river located in Nigeria that bears her name. Gold, deep yellow, white and green are her signature colors signifying the deep connection to the Earth in Nigeria.
Oshun is the Yoruba orisha connected to destiny. The vessel is often used as a divination tool that allows a querent to illicit guidance and inspiration from its markings. With the markings on the pot the diviners are able to gain insight into one’s life by studying the markings on the vessel.
What approach did you take in making this vessel?
Creating art in this medium is similar to channeling. As a black American with roots in Puerto Rico, Barbados and through marriage Nigeria—I wanted to create something that was both spiritual and useful. It is a vessel that I set out to be a snapshot of my family. During my middle daughter’s battle with cancer there were many unanswered questions and I often turned to meditation and prayer. This path led me to the discovery of diviners in both my family, and my husband’s family, which I feel is uniquely African in how our culture conjures or calls upon the spirit world.
The vessel was supposed to be a bit more beautiful, however, upon appearance it looks almost like an artifact. It is weathered and there are what appears to be cracks with embedded dates and words. At any given moment a different person could look at this vessel and ask it a question. Someone may see the numbers. Someone else may see the words. The markings look like life lines on a hand. It can be placed with the “mouth” facing up or down, which would give it a decidedly different read as well.
It all is dependent upon who is looking at it when and how it speaks to you.
I see a family and in its center are the words “Unbreakable.” Families in all forms are under attack. Unity is under attack but love always wins. I find it interesting that this is the message that I channeled while constructing this piece and look forward to its further revelations.