Láolú Senbanjo working on The Dreamer bust.
Lladró’s most recent collaboration with Nigerian artist Láolú Senbanjo, introduces the exquisite collection titled ‘The Dreamer’, encapsulating the essence of Youruba culture and traditions. Marking Lladró’s inaugural partnership with an African artist, this collaboration introduces a fresh perspective while building on the previous established African art that the brand has produced. Through The Dreamer collection, Senbanjo aims to shift global perceptions of ‘Africa’, showcasing it as a multicultural continent with unique customs and religions in each region. The collection holds profound significance, as it sees Lladró’s porcelain canvas serving as the chosen medium through which Senbanjo skilfully presents his tribe’s rich culture and spirituality to a global audience.
The ‘Sacred Art of the Ori’, as explored by Láolú Senbanjo, delves into the profound depths of Yoruba spirituality and the intrinsic connection between art and the essence of one’s being. In the Yoruba language ‘Ori’ literally translates to a physical human head. However it's true meaning is completely dissimilar with the literal translation, as it encompasses an individual's essence, soul and destiny. For Senbanjo the concept of Ori becomes a guiding force and a profound mantra in his artistic journey.
In collaboration with Lladró, he emphasizes a transformative union where the sculptural head, its Ori, and the artist become intertwined. This synergy allows Sanbanjo to delve into the core of his subjects, translating the innermost thoughts, emotions, and spirituality onto Lladró’s handcrafted canvas. The physical act of drawing becomes a spiritual experience, a unique manifestation of the sacred art of the Ori. Within The Dreamer Collection, the ori is neither Senbajo nor is it the skillful craftsmanship of Lladró, but instead the ori is the third entity, the muse on which the art is being expressed. Senbanjo's artistic process transcends superficial expression, it becomes a conduit for exploring and embodying the very soul and essence of his subjects. In this way, the Sacred Art of the Ori serves as a guiding philosophy that shapes and defines Senbanjo's distinctive artistic voice.
Photo Credit: Koma Club
African body art is a vibrant expression of cultural identity, with various patterns reflecting the rich heritage and traditions of diverse ethnic groups across the continent. These intricate designs draw inspiration from nature, folklore, and spiritual beliefs, forming a visual language that communicates messages, rituals and values. Kolo, the extensive scar tattoos practiced by the Yoruba of Nigeria, were intricate and visually striking patterns etched onto the skin. These scar tattoos, primarily worn by women, featured elaborate designs that were acquired gradually before marriage.
The patterns are marked through a series of sessions, often composed of a combination of lines, symbols and shapes. Each mark held cultural significance, serving as both a form of beautification and a symbol of the bearer's courage. Beyond its aesthetic allure, Kolo becomes a conduit for emotional expression, a manifestation of religious beliefs, and a representation of plant and animal symbolism. Remarkably multifaceted, Kolo also encapsulates the transformative journey from childhood to adulthood.