owoko is an interactive installation honoring Igbo women through an ongoing ritual centered around the element of water. ebere agwuncha uses the historic Comfort Station site as grounds for owoko, the first iteration of the series Creating Care-filled Igbo Architecture(s), through the use of ceramics, natural fiber, and wood.

comfort station (chicago, Il)
april 3Oth - may 28th 2O22

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This installation embodies the historic formation of the Circular Stepped Pyramids in Nsude (Northern Igboland)1; the ceramic-woven vessels exhibited replicate the linear uli formation parallel to the primary window within the space. These bodies sit in sunken soil to replicate the traditional owoko3, a water pot installation, that was designed and produced by Igbo women - prior to Nigeria’s independence from Britain in 1960. (Credit to Eva Obodo & May Okafor for publishing critical work regarding the owoko in Traditional Water Pot Installations and Functions in Parts of Igboland, Southeast Nigeria.) The vessel centered amongst the five vessels is a soundscape and water reservoir. It is activated through an ongoing ritual practiced alongside ebere’s family who journeyed to a nearby stream to ‘fetch the water’ for the vessel. The viewer is encouraged to continue filling the center vessel with a water offering as they first enter the space. owoko is a collective meditation and is activated to remind us of our invisible access to clean water.

The exhibition features the process of ebere crafting the architecture(s)2 that are on display. A video piece shown is an assemblage of various archives, historical sites, ebere’s hands, and interviews. The viewer can see beyond the architecture(s) that may appear as final works in the space, and interpret each item as an ‘object of process’, with some items evolving past their current state in the show.

photo credits above: taken by tj walker at the owoko exhibition opening.

select works

historial references

photo credits above: select work images taken and provided by ebere agwuncha. historical references taken from the Ụkpụrụ̄ tumblr archive.

© ebere agwuncha 2O22