Iya mi Oba (Obba).
Probably one of the most misunderstood Orisa is Oba, until you receive her. Then you wonder how you survived at all without her. She is sometimes known as a woman’s Orisa, however, Oba helps all who need and respect her. No one should be abused—no matter the gender.
Oba frowns on parasitic relationships, even when we are the parasite to ourselves or to others. She advocates love, independence and respect within relationships. When I received Oba, I felt another backbone being constructed in my intellectual and emotional well-being.
Oba has many attributes. Among them is her ability to perform quick, up close work, which is why she carries a dagger. She is commerce and navigation. She is the writer. One of her responsibilities is writing the names of the dead in her book.
Oba's Book, (below) is constructed using a blank journal format. The base fabric is muslin, a hearty cloth and can be easily dyed or painted. I used a combination of paints and hues that mimic the colors given to me in Oba's ileke. There are three signatures inside that create 12 pages. The pages are tea-dyed to reference a soft, antique look, machine stitched horizontally to give the appearance of lines on a page and then machine zig-zagged around the edges.
The inside front and back tea-dyed covers are further painted/embellished by pressing the fabric onto paint remaining on the plastic I used to cover my table. I then machine embroidered the inside with the words “Oba’s Book.” The book's front and back covers are hand painted using acrylic and fabric paints. The front cover is embellished with beads, sequins and Oba’s “key” to the world. The front cover also includes a quill for her writing instrument. The entire front and back cover edges are densely beaded; the front and back surfaces are machine stitched using free-motion wandering called stippling.
Oba's Crown is embellished with sequins and beads, highlighted with her dagger, the doorway, her key and the life everlasting symbol. The crown is further embellished with beaded fringe.
Oba's Olele are constructed with bamboo, bells, ribbon, glass and amber beads. They are beaded using circular peyote stitch. One is 12 inches; the other is 24 inches.
I love making throne art as tools for my Òrìsà. As with commissions, this kind of creativity gives me the opportunity to carefully research Òrìsà’s nature, qualities and effects. Long after I am gone Oba's Book, Crown, and Olele will survive. Godchildren will say, “These objects were created by Iya Ala Ofun. This is legacy.