Events

The West African Roots of a Masquerade Garment in Brazil

A priest of Ifá divination and an art historian discuss the masquerades of Yoruba religion and how they evolved in the Americas.

Egungun masquerade ensemble representing an Egun (ancestral spirit) called Baba Xango, Itaparica, Bahia, Brazil (early 20th century), cloth, beads, cowrie shells, mirrors (photo by Don Cole, courtesy Fowler Museum at UCLA)

Originating in West Africa, the Yoruba religion was brought to the Americas via the Atlantic slave trade, where it developed into several distinct, syncretic belief systems across the continent, from Cuba to Brazil to Argentina. Ancestral spirits, known as Egun, are central to the Yoruba religion, and are honored in masquerades called Egungun. One of these elaborate Egungun garments is included in the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA show Axé Bahia: The Power of Art in an Afro-Brazilian Metropolis, which explores art, culture, race, and religion in Salvador, the coastal capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia and the country’s third largest city.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Fowler Museum will be hosting a gallery talk with Babalawo Amos Dyson, a priest of Ifá divination, and art historian Katherine Smith, who will discuss the traditional role of Egun and its transformation and evolution in the Americas.

When: Wednesday, January 10, 12–1pm
Where: Fowler Museum at UCLA (308 Charles E Young Dr N., Westwood, Los Angeles)

More info here.

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