The Journey of the Soul
Igbo, Yoruba, Nigeria
Acrylic on wood, 2021
The udu is a clay vessel from the Igbo that evolved over time into an aerophonic musical instrument. You play an udu as you would a drum and with variations of play that imbue air through one or multiple holes that's released as sound out another opening(s).
With this piece I merged the udu into the Yoruba creation myth, where it represents the lifeless clay human form moulded and carved by Orisanla and Ogun respectively.
Subsequently, Olodumare breathes a divine breath, emi (soul), into the unliving physical form and this first note beat into the udu is the kickstart to life and stays within the vessel to the very end.
Physical counterparts to emi in this divine breath, are okan (heart) and eje (blood), all of which are critical for life to persist.
That breath of air thrives in the body and at the end of your life, the udu cries one final time as your spirit escapes through the top opening.
With that last breath, your heart (okan) and blood (eje), tangible counterparts to the soul (emi) also move onward.