Africa Revisited

Ritual and ceremonial masks and sculpture are an essential feature of the traditional culture and art of the  Sub Saharan, Central and West Africa. Many museums around the world have examples of these artifacts displayed without context or meaning. During the colonization of the continent these sacred objects were collected by the western overlords. The details or the individual artists were not noted nor was their role in the society recorded. In Europe this vast and diverse collections inspired the great 20th century artistic movements such cubism, fauvism and expressionism. We will be revisiting artifacts from Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and Sudan in the hope that their story will become contexturalized and more meaningful. It  is interesting to note that some groups still hold to their ritual and that some objects in their home culture would not even be seen in public

The Lwalu are one of the Bantu nations. The Banbudye(leaders) were known to be men of memory and keepers of the oral traditions. After 1870 they were active in the slave trade using their own people.
This figure comes from the flood plain in eastern Nigeria.The Ekpe Society governs these people. This was made as part of the process whereby an distinguished elder is elevated to ancestor status.
These people are few in number, nomadic in South Sudan.They originated the Bwiti religion where intoxicating and hallucinogenic plants are consumed in many rituals.
The Yoruba trace its roots to the 4th century BCE. Most are Christians but many practice the traditional faith of the ancestors Orisha found in the diaspora in North and South America and the Caribbean
The Bamileke group is now dominant in the West Cameroon.Their origins can be traced to Egypt in the 11th-14th centuries
The Luba are one of the largest and oldest ethnic groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo first appearing around the 5th century.The Luba were famous as wood carvers and unfortunately slave traders during the period that this was carved after 1870
This full head mask was worn by the highest ranking Ejaghan leaders of the ruling society Ntoon. These masks were carved from a single piece of wood and highly decorated. They express the duality of the ability to see into the future and the past.
These Dogon sculptures were not made to be seen in public. They believe that people are considered neutral until they are circumsized that both sexes are born as androgenus or twinned. Dogon also strive to balance the divine with the human by this action.
This Gelede mask protects mothers who control fertility for the Yoruba people. There is a full spectacle Gelede ceremony that is danced in pairs promoting harmony by men. These are important as one of their first gods was barren and was cured by this ceremony
These masks of the Fang are rare and are worn by the witch doctors who protected the people from the influences of the ancestors. They acted upon troubles in the community but also in funeral ceremonies.
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