Esther Elia ✿ An Assyrian Prayer Bowl


6 December 2023

Our December laurel is awarded to an Assyrian living in the USA who makes prayer bowls with messages of cultural resilience.

Esther Elia is co-founder of the Assyrian Prayer Bowl Archive, which places contemporary Assyrian art in the context of its narratives. She has researched incantation bowls in Assyrian culture and found they were used for healing or countering demons. The bowls were written on as a form of prescription.

This bowl has the words “I pray for freedom” and is one of my own prayers submitted to the project. The figure is a self-portrait. The birds on the head and body represent royalty. My prayer is a sincere one for the Assyrian people, I do pray for our freedom, specifically on our Indigenous homelands in modern-day Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey.

About Esther Elia

I have been making the bowls in a couple of different locations. The one pictured is the school clay studio at the University of New Mexico, located between Downtown and the Nob Hill neighborhood. I would also take bowls home after they were bisqued to do the writing in my home, so I could sit on a comfy chair and be able to focus a little bit better. My home is in a sweet little neighborhood. It is very quiet with lots of landscaped cactus gardens. Now that I’ve graduated, I’ve moved to a studio located in the East Mountains of Albuquerque, which has a gorgeous view of Piñon and Alligator Junipers.

Visit and follow @malikta.Esther.

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