Turned-wood sculpture composed of a cluster of small jar-like vessels with stones embedded througout
small hollow vessels with stones, joined into one whole
After taking a course in woodturning, Alain Mailland established his own woodworking shop devoted to cabinetry, stairs, and verandas. In the early 1990s, he turned his focus solely to wood art, specializing in greenwood hollowing because “it’s a live material…and it later changes shape in an interesting way.” He quickly gained a reputation for his unique work and for turning some of the most difficult pieces created.
Complex and intricately carved, The Stone Eater is exemplary in its technical achievement. Each small vessel was individually turned, and yet the piece as a whole is still a single block of wood. It shows just how far Mailland is prepared to push the limits of technical skill.
The overall effect is one of a barnacle-like sea organism.
Life-sized seated female figure holding a child. Face has rouneded, high forehead, ovoid eyes, flat, rectangular nose and protruding, open ovoid mouth. Pogmented, bilateral scarification patterns of forehead, temples and jowels, at back of neck. Scarification also on upper arms and breast. Pigmented coiffure is elaborate with triangular and dome-like shapes. Necklace and hoop-like ring carved in relief onto neck and shoulders; figure has protruding navel, wears anklets and armlet at elbow, and holds a baby suckling at left breast.
The Urhobo carved life-szed figures to commemorate the edjo--spiritual forces that pervade the natural world and embody a community’s founding ancestors. Every Urhobo community had its own edjjo installed in a small shrine house that was maintained by the town’s spiritual leaders. These shrine houses were darkened to keep the figure hidden from view for all all but a few days a year, when large festivals were organized in its honor. Shrine figures could be installed in pairs of male and female, which together manifested the martial power and fecundity of the spirits. These figures embody a classic tension in Urhobo aesthetics--fthey are fearsome to humans, but beautiful to the spirits.