This page is a record of an exhibit that took place
in 1991. The individual links below will take you to
the CURRENT VERSION of the pages
that formed part of that exhibit.
The Hamill Gallery of African Art is glad to announce the opening of
it's second special exhibition, Art of the Yoruba. One of Afnca's major
tribes, the Yoruba from Nigeria have centuries of rich, artistic tradition.
This exhibit attempts to present the unparalleled variety and depth of masks,
figures and artifacts of the Yoruba culture.
The most important societies or associations are well represented. Masks and headdresses of the Gelede, honoring the powers of women, range from the simple, serene and elegantly carved masks to those with elaborate animal superstructures and full dance regalia. Massive helmet masks of the Epa association and the huge, powerful Egungun costumes hint at the full presence and magic of the complete rituals with dance and music.
Figures include maternity and equestrian pieces, as well as several pairs of the small Ibeji (twin) figures that attest to the traditional special place that twins have with the Yoruba. Royal and priestly objects include ritual metal staffs, beaded sheaths, royal beaded crowns, cowrie shell shrines, and Shango and Eshu staffs and dance wands used in the Orisha religion. Among the many artifacts are stools, with a caryatid figure or multiple figures as supports, Ifa divination trays and bowls, Ashoke fabrics, Hausa robes and iron Osanyin bird staffs used in herbal medicine.
Gelede, a male association honoring the special powers of women, held festivals at planting time. Often with elaborate superstructures, they appeared as identical pairs in the dances.