Sacred Arts, Passion & Inner Vision
- The world-reknown Yorùbá carver, Lamidi Fakeye once asked an interviewer in Nigeria, “When you look at a block of wood what do you see?” “A dead tree”, came the reply. “Pity,” he said , “I would imagine you were more creative than that…I see a soul looking for a body to inhabit; seeking to clothe itself in a form which is life.” Fakeye’s lucid inner vision is anything but one individual’s personal experience, however. It reflects millenia of collective consciousness and specialized training. Babatunde Lawal tells us that, among the Yorùbá of Nigeria and the Republic of Benin, even from the moment of procreation and inception, life is imbued with artistic expression. To the Yorùbá, the human body is the handiwork of the Arch Divinity and heavenly sculptor Obatala. Hence the prayer for an expectant mother: “Ki Orisa ya ona ire ko ni” (May the Orisa [Obatala] fashion for us a good work of art).
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