My Favourite Wooden Object

A Carved Ebony Bust

Simone Brewster

Wood has always meant home. Growing up in north London, my Caribbean parents built a home that sought to capture something of the lands they had left behind, through the collection of objects acquired during their younger years. This amounted to an ensemble of dark wooden carvings from the Caribbean and US, from little-known sculptors who sought to celebrate the Black Power movements of the 1960s and 70s.

Large carved masks, small drumming figures, and cooking utensils – all these beautiful pieces carved from wood. Of all these objects, the one that has stayed with me the most is a female bust. Proud and strong, her features are hewn from one piece of ebony. On her bare chest lies a bold necklace, and in her ears hang the weight of large earrings. The texture of her hair is captured in the cross-carved lines on her head. The natural tone of the wood sits in perfect harmony with her features, acting as the smooth skin to her proud character. Dark wood will always be relevant to me. Not only is it home, it’s the material that sparked my curiosity and pride in my culture.

Simone Brewster,