Ioana TĂmaŞ Ceramics


At one point I came across some graphic Symbols of the Orishas - representation of God in Yoruba culture- and found them very interesting, inspiring and at the same time amusing. I got very curious about their origin and meaning and that lead me to further investigation. The illustrations turned out to be silk screen designs of Ama and Jomo Amen Ra of the Ile Ife Center and the Arthur Hall Afro-American Dance Ensemble, from a festival in Philadelphia called Odunde in the 1980's. The symbols are derived from the originals, conceived by Oseijerman Adefumi, Oba of Oyotunji. The festival stems from Yoruba people tradition in Nigeria. It is a celebration of a new year and is meant to bring dispersed Africans from everywhere together.
My challenge was to transform these 2dimentional drawings into 3dimentional sculptures. For this I also had to do research on the type of ceramic material I had to use to have enough freedom in shaping. So I discovered paper clay which is very plastic, strong and ideal for difficult sculptures.
I have always been fascinated by African culture specifically in sculpture and textile. For the decorative part of my Orishas sculptures I used on one side, the symbol that inspired me and on the other side patterns from African textiles.
The technique I chose for creating the shapes -- vibrant, irregular and curved -- was prompted by the idea of giving the feeling that the sculptures are made of textiles. In this I was inspired by the Kafigeledjo figures (in translation “the one who tells the truth”) who represent human figures completely wrapped in textile, giving the impression to be only silhouettes.