Friday, November 18, 2005

aso ebi... or lace, sweat and tears

Sokari Douglas-Camp's sculpture, Aso Ebi or Lace, Sweat and Tears - was the centrepiece of the Africa Garden, opened at the British Museum on April 30, 2005. The Garden was designed by television's award winning Ground Force team - their very last creation together. Also in the garden were artworks by some of Africa's best known artists including, El Anatsui, Emmanuel Jegede and Adam Madebe.
Douglas Camp's water sculpture was made from galvanised steel and shows 5 women dressed to represent the Yoruba concept of Aso Ebi and the trouble that Nigerian women go through to put the look together. It also symbolises the beauty and resilliency of the culture. It was specially commissioned for the garden, which was open to view until late summer.


Blogger Imnakoya said...

The title of your post: "aso-ebi... or lace, sweat and tears" carries some aroma of sarcasm...and makes me chuckle. I know most females have a soft spot for "aso ebi or "ankoo". Am I correct to deduce that you belong to the minority that don't buy into this concept?

3:36 pm, November 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, did I give that impression? Not intentional. 'Aso Ebi or Lace, Sweat and Tears' is actually the name Sokari Douglas Camp gave to her sculpture. Now you get it.

I'm a typical Naija woman in many ways. I have my fair share of aso-ebi. However, I do think that, as with everything in our society, it can be taken too far... and is often taken too far, as an act of mind-numbing extravagance to 'keep up with the Joneses' rather than as an expression of pride & culture.

Beyond that, I totally love how, the aso-ebi concept totally negates the Western fashion code, where you'd be ashamed to turn up at a party and find another woman wearing the same outfit as you.


8:26 pm, November 21, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have a love/hate relationship with aso-ebi. on the one hand, I love the fact that you don't have to worry too much about what you will wear for a particular occassion. Also, it is an opportunity for repetition and difference. Thats is people can wear the same thing, yet inflect it with their own unique sensibility. yet i hate the expense of it all. This is what Sokari Douglas sculpture is all about. The beauty and the pain or cost of beauty.

8:39 am, November 22, 2005  
Blogger Imnakoya said...

As beautiful as the concept is, what make it even more painful is that the disposable income of many in our society go to non productive endeavor...such as getting "aso ebi". It is indeed "sweat and tears" for many.

6:52 am, November 23, 2005  
Blogger Adaure said...

it's a great art work laced with heavy metaphors. I too hate aso-ebi some what... because i really hate the idea of wearing the same outfit as others, and secondly it's a borrowed culture for me since it's of yoruba origin. Whatever happened to being an individual.. but then again i have to say it's a beautiful part of Nigerianess and once in a while you just have to get with the program.

[nice blog]

1:41 pm, November 23, 2005  

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