What is Osani, The Circle Game?
The Circle Game is simple. Kids start with their feet touching and then take turns naming circular objects, concepts and natural cycles: Oranges, eyeballs, the sun… or the cycles of the moon, a full pregnancy, or the changing of the seasons. When a player runs out of circular or cyclical concepts they leave the group, until finally one wise and creative child remains. It is said that child will live long and prosper. "Osani" is the Efe word for "love".
I fell in love with this image the first time I saw it, printed one-inch square in a magazine. It was 1985 and I was sitting in a doctor's waiting room, reading. I asked to use the phone. Calling the magazine editor I sought out the photographer, adventurer Jean-Pierre Hallet, who captured this shot in the 1960’s. Jean-Pierre cared deeply for the Efe Pygmy people of the Ituri rainforest and their peaceful ways, and dedicated decades to them, doing everything he could to help preserve their way of life.
I was lucky. They gave me JP's phone number and I discovered he lived not far away. We met the following week. Bowled over by the man and his obsessive high regard and affection for these people, I also loved his photography! Of all his wonderful images, this photo was my favorite. It’s a gentle reminder to stay in touch with the basics.
The Circle Game is an antidote to busy days when core relationships and values are eclipsed by the distractions of modern life. Jean-Pierre called it “Osani”, which means “love” in the Efe language. This photo has hung on my walls for over 35 years, and I never tire of looking at it. I’m sure you will feel the same. Prints have been gifted to celebrate births, memorials, birthdays, graduations and weddings. Cards make it easy to share with friends and extended family.
Now I can offer totes, laptop skins, T shirts, phone covers, pendants and more. This is an all-occasion, no-occasion-needed image. I'm sure you will savor it as much as I do.
Thanks for reading,