Veronique Harris, Reflections of the Goddess
Oshun, the goddess of the sweet waters, is the protective deity of the river Oshun in Nigeria. She is an Orisha, a deity of the pantheon of the Yoruba people of West Africa. The Yoruba have rich, vibrant and captivating religious beliefs that are contained in a system called Ifa. The Ifa is a body of philosophical ideas expressed through myths of origin, moral and ethical beliefs, and understandings of the cosmos. In this system, the Supreme being is Olorun, the creator of the universe. Olurun is called by several other names including Olodumare, “The Almighty”. The lesser deities, or Orishas, complete the task of creation.
In the Yoruba tradition, Oshun is said to be a favorites of Olodumare, because of her beauty. Like all Orishas, Oshun has many attributes, and is the Orisha of sensuality and female empowerment. She is the protector of orphans, and governs fertility and divination. Oshun exemplifies beauty, love and wealth. Oshun represents the perpetual renewing source of life, and like the elemental power of water, she makes life possible. Oshun carries a mirror not because she is vain, but because she represents our own divine self-image. It is our self-image that determines how we each engage the world, and our successes and failures.
The Odu Ifa, which is the sacred text of the Ifa tradition, teaches equality of the sexes and affirms the essential partnership of women and men in the world. It says that Olodumare gave women the power and authority so that in order to be successful in anything they do, men must do it with women. Per the text, people should always respect women greatly for the world to be in right order. This teaching is reaffirmed in the story of creation where Olodumare sent 17 Orishas, to make the world good. The 16 male Orishas failed in their assignment because they did not respect nor include Oshun, the only female Orisha in the group. When they returned to heaven to report their failure, Olodumare asked two questions: “Where is the woman among you?” and “Did you give her due respect?” Olodumare instructed them to apologize to Oshun. Oshun accepted their apology and with her help all of their works succeeded. This lesson is relevant and sorely needed in our chaotic world today.
Reflections of the Goddess
Clay, underglazes and glazes, on wood base 39cm x 39cm wide by 44cm tall €1615 + 10% IVA
Veronique is a self taught artist and continual learner working out of her home studio. She began her artistic adventures early in life by experimenting with pencil, charcoal and pastels, later adding photography to her list of creative endeavors. In 2012, she discovered ceramics, and took many workshops and classes to improve and expand her knowledge and skill.
Being of multi-ethnic descent and having lived in several countries, Veronique is keenly aware of and values cultural differences. Yet, the primary focus of her work is the expression and celebration of our common connections. Veronique finds inspiration in her observations of and experiences with people, animals and nature. She is intrigued by the narrative of everyday life and how we each respond in individually unique ways depending on culture, family background, and world view.
Veronique uses clay as an ideal canvas to convey and express her experiences. She is empowered to safely explore and push the boundaries of self discovery. Those explorations into our human nature inform the stories shared through each piece. Veronique’s work represent the unique social and spiritual connections we all share and articulate the eternal nature of our beings.