Fakeye Oshe Shango front – goa
Fakeye Oshe Shango front with devotees closeupFakeye Oshe Shango front with devotees topFakeye Oshe Shango sideOshe Shango drummers side view

Fakeye Sculpture – Oya Shango


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The Fakeye family of Nigeria Africa is very well known as an extremely talented family of master craftsmen. The intricate style of carving that they are known for has been passed down from father to son for many generations. The first master carver in the Fakeye family was Olawoyin Fakeye. He was given the honorific title ‘Fakeye’ by the King of Ila. Along with the title, the descendants of Olawoyin Fakeye also inherited the skill and creativity that secured the family a reputation as expert carvers. Their immediately recognizable style of carvings are increasingly being appreciated by a growing number of art connoisseurs. The Fakeye carvings are incredibly intricate and the attention to detail that their carvings have, has to be seen to be appreciated, as photographs really does them no justice. This sculpture of Oya was carved by Lukman Fakeye. Lukman Fakeye is one of the sons of Akin Fakeye. This is the more traditional depiction of Shongo’s wife and features her with the axe which Shongo was associated with. Shango was/is one of the Yoruba deities (Orisha) and in some part of Trinidad, Grenada and Brazil is still viewed as god of thunder although there he is called Xangô. It was/is believed that he had magical powers and could control thunder with his magical axe. Shango was the fourth king of Yoruba. There are many different accounts of his life and death. In one account he mythologically came forth from goddess Yemaja. He had three wives – one was Oshun who was a river goddess, the second Oba who was also a river goddess. The wife whom this sculpture depicts is Shango’s third wife Oya who was said to be his favourite wife and the one who stole the secret of his power. Oya is depicted holding a sekere which is a musical instrument in one hand and in the other she holds a cockerel. She stands on the head of two musicians each playing a type of drum. Her headdress is shaped as axe which immediately proclaims her association with Shango.

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