Nifemi Marcus-Bello’s ‘Omi Iyọ’ shines at Milan Design Week

Nifemi Marcus-Bello’s poignant artistic statement, “Omi Iyọ,” meaning saltwater in Yoruba, is making waves at Milan’s 5VIE Design Week, per Crafted from stainless steel, this sculptural masterpiece symbolises the perilous journey migrants undertake across the Mediterranean to reach Europe. The Nigerian designer’s creation, inspired by migrant ships, serves as a thought-provoking beacon amid the bustling design week.

The sculpture, meticulously polished to foster introspection, holds salt that gradually trickles through a hole, forming a mound on the floor, evoking the passage of time and the accumulation of human experience. Marcus-Bello’s inspiration stemmed from a conversation with a migrant during a previous design event, prompting him to shed light on the often overlooked plight of migrants.

For Marcus-Bello, the essence of the piece transcends materiality, emphasising the importance of its message over its physical form. Set against a dark blue backdrop in a historic Milanese building, “Omi Iyọ” stands as a symbol of calm reflection amidst the whirlwind of design week.

‘Omi Iyọ’                                 Image: Amir Farzad

Beyond its artistic significance, “Omi Iyọ” carries a philanthropic mission. Marcus-Bello intends to donate proceeds from its sale to charities supporting migrants, underscoring his commitment to social causes. Amidst other design week highlights like IKEA’s inflatable gaming chair and Leo Maher’s lighting sculptures, “Omi Iyọ” stands out for its poignant narrative and altruistic purpose.

With its powerful message and charitable mission, Marcus-Bello’s creation invites viewers to reflect on the pressing socio-economic issues facing our global community.

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