X2006.5.1 Gelede Mask

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Headdress with motorcycle and rider (ere gelede)
Artist: Eloi Lokossou (Republic of Benin, artistäs dates unknown)
Yoruba peoples
Republic of Benin
Early 1990’s
Wood and paint
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Anonymous Gift. X2006.5.1

Category:
Description

Eloi Lokossou is a prolific Yoruba artist who creates works for one of two Gelede dance societies in Cové, in the south central Benin Republic. The proud young man portrayed riding a Honda motorcycle makes a statement about wealth, status, and modernity. At a deeper level, the mask refers to Ogun, the Yoruba god of iron-and hence devices like motorcycles made from metal and associated with the violence of change. Further allusion is made to the mystical powers of ”our mothers,” as depicted in the placid face of a woman in the mask’s lower register, for they mystically assure innovation as eye-catching as this shiny new motorcycle.

Source: Exhibition Wall Text: Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006

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