BareBones 2020 · OFFERINGS: Artists Respond to the Mourning, Grieving and Fires on Lake Street

Ofunshi Oba Koso

BareBones 2020 Ancestor Altar

The BareBones 2020 Ancestor Altar was a space for reflection and to honor the ancestors that took place overnight at 21st Ave. and 39th St., from Oct. 30 to 31.

photos: Paul Irmiter

Ofunshi’s Altar to the Ancestors’ joins the decades long BareBones tradition of an ancestor altar and sits squarely within the Ifa spiritual tradition. Every element was carefully chosen to honor Ifa deities and Ofunshi’s ancestors. The altar grew throughout the period of 24 hours as participants brought offerings to their own ancestors. Situated near two powerful trees that continued to thrive and flower after being struck by lightning, the central canoe holds the offerings for all. Participants had brought anything they wished to honor the ancestors of their cultural heritage.

About the Artist

Ofunshi Oba Koso is a traditional healer and spiritual diviner known as a Babalawo from the Yoruba religious tradition. Trained from an early age by Lucumi and Traditional Yoruba masters, Ofunshi brings a unique perspective of African spirituality through his vast knowledge of Afro-Cuban syncretic religious practices such as Santeria (Lucumi) and Palo Monte, as well as Ifá as it is practiced in West Africa. His wisdom and traditional knowledge are widely respected, and his counsel has been sought in religious, social and political realms. In tandem, he is actively involved in global movements to improve the lives and conditions of Africans and African descendants. Currently, Ofunshi serves as Director of Outreach for Project Congo Global Voice, a year-long campaign to build a solidarity network to address the ongoing crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other resource-exploited regions. Baba Ofunshi holds a degree in Cultural Analysis and Promotion from the University of Havana, with undergraduate certificates in Public Relations and Marketing, and graduate certificates in Social Anthropology and Religious Studies.