Iya Moopo is the “Great Mother” in Yoruba mythology. She protects women in all that they must do from bearing children to their professions or trades.
Iya Moopo was a potter. Her delicate form and outlines of the sculpture express the Goddess’s mystical purity. Inside her body is a narrow spiral staircase in the shape of the sacred snail that leads to an inner sanctum.
This magnificent sculpture was created by Susanne Wenger and Adebisi Akanji. It is over 10 meters high and 25 meters long. It lies in the area of the Groves know as “The Sacred Pottery Field”. It is one of only three monuments in the field, 3 being a sacred number in the Yoruba tradition.
The first sign of damage to this exceptional sculpture was the collapse of the sculpture’s 15-meter long
legs. As the restoration proceeded, it became clear that water damage had weakened the entire
structure and almost every element required rebuilding. Eight years later, disturbances by trees necessitated further restoration.
Thanks to the artistry of Adebisi Akanji, his son Nurudeen and the New Sacred Art team this exceptional work of art has been saved. This restoration work was made possible through the generous support of the Republic of Austria and the Tolaram Group.