Watercolour, Ink, Acrylic on Paper
7 ft x 5 ft
Akua’ba ‘s are wooden fertility dolls from Ghana and the Ashanti people. They are traditionally used to give women spiritual assistance in bearing a child. Once successful, they are returned to the Shrine as a thank you to the spirit realm, or kept in home as memorial for lost children. The dolls are washed, wrapped and fed, and carried on the women’s backs. In Ghanaian legend, there was a woman named Akua who had trouble conceiving. She visited a priest, who then carved her a wooden doll. She took the doll home and bathed & carried on her back, as if it was a real baby. The village laughed at her, and called the doll Akua’ba - “Akua’s child”- ‘ba’ meaning child. However, soon after she became pregnant with a healthy baby, and the practice was adopted since.I keep mine on my altar in memory of my one in the spirit realm, as a sign of respect and honour to them, blessings and health for the future, until I am chosen again to become a mother.
I am intrigued by folk media arts of different cultures, specifically the traditional puppetry arts of Southeast Asia. Puppetry exists throughout Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and India, each different yet with cross-cultural exchanges. I am inspired by wooden, string and shadow puppetry arts, its place in being a bridge between arts, spirituality and culture.
For more information on my puppets, click here