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Art Talk: Dissembling Earth in Yoruba Visual Culture

  • Yale University Art Gallery 1111 Chapel Street New Haven, CT (map)

David T. Doris, M.A. 1996, M.Phil. 1998, Ph.D. 2002, Associate Professor of the History of Art at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, shines a new light on power and visuality in Yorùbá culture, based in West Africa.

Looking at examples of Edan Ògbóni—finely cast brass figures of a female and male with iron pegs, originally owned by honored elders of the ancient Ògbóni secret society—and clumps of earth scooped from the ground and set down to mark and protect property, Doris addresses a haunting question: Are there really no visual representations of God (Olódùmáre) in Yorùbá culture, as scholars have claimed? Or have they just been looking in the wrong place? Followed by a reception. Generously sponsored by the Martin A. Ryerson Fund.