mama wata
This large sculpture was made for Mami Wata, pidgin English for “Mother of Water," a charismatic being of great spiritual power celebrated in West and Central Africa and reimagined as deities such as La Sirene (Haitian Vodou) and Yemanjá (Candomblé and Umbanda) in Afro-Atlantic spiritual traditions.

“Mami Wata” figure, Igbo artist

The convention of elongating the figure can be seen in many of Olowe’s carvings, to visually highlight the importance of the head that holds the inner spiritual power, dignity and strength, and sacredness of one’s destiny.

Olowe of Ise, Veranda Post of Enthroned ...

Uche Okeke, Owls, From the Oja Suite, 1962, ink on paper © The Estate of Uche Okeke (Newark Museum)
Nigerian independence inspired artists to develop a new national and artistic identity based on “natural synthesis.”

Uche Okeke