The Oduduwa monument can be found within the grounds of Afewonro Park, located in Enuwa Square near the Ooni’s palace. The fiberglass figure, at the center of the city, represents Oduduwa, the Yoruba orisha or deity who descended from the heavens to become the first monarch. Two main versions of the Yoruba creation myth exist. In one, Obatala descended from the heavens with a calabash of sand and a chicken--the primordial ocean lay below. The chickens scratched out the sand, land formed, and the other orisha followed Obatala/Orisanla down the chain. He then created human beings. A second version, subscribed to in Ife, states that Obatala stopped on the way to his task, drank palm wine, and fell asleep. The High God Olodumare sent Oduduwa to find out what had happened, and Oduduwa completed the job. Once land was formed, he descended an iron chain to Oke Ora, a hill just outside Ife, and from there settled in the town itself.  

At some point before 2001, the sculptor Abuede, a Lagos-based artist, created the sculpture of Oduduwa grasping a staff resembling that of an Ifa diviner in his right hand. He wears a traditional Yoruba flowing, toga-like, unembroidered cloth. Upon his head is the famous aare beaded crown. Its characteristic shape--flattened, curved halves, along with the addition of a protruding crest at the forehead and the iconic cascading beaded fringe--are features of the actual crown. Although this crown, unique to Ife, is identified with the Ooni (monarch of Ife), it is quite different from the crowns that appear on sculpture from the 11th-15th centuries. The beading arrangement on the statue's neck and torso, however, imitate the royal jewelry arrangement visible on these early sculptures. The medicine horn grasped in Oduduwa's left hand also mimics these celebrated bronzes. The contemporary sculpture is more realistic than its naturalistic antecedents, however, for it has natural proportions and unidealized features that include smile lines.

Afewonro Park consists of a fenced-in section of the narrow triangle of land bounded by roads, just outside the Ooni's palace. It was the site of both of the current monarch's formal installation and the interdenominational service that honored his predecessor. It was formed not long before 2001, having been used as an informal gathering place and mosque before then. Its green lawn and flowers also host the masonry Tower of Independence, a colonial-style clocktower.


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