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Epa Mask: Equestrian

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Epa Mask: Equestrian

"One who is carrying eggs has need to be cautious. A fragile plate is never broken by a careful person in public." (Ekiti proverb)

Roland Abiodun cited this proverb to refer to ifarabele-the mental attitude of dedication and discipline required to control the mind and body when performing with this mask. To dance with a mask of nearly 30 pounds for virtually an entire day without falling or stumbling was a test for young Yoruba men.

A selective naturalism has been used to portray the leader on horseback. The head is one half the size of the entire figure to stress the importance of the head as the controller of destiny.

Wood and pigment
48 1/16 x 10 1/2 x 11 1/2 in. (122 x 26.7 x 29.2 cm)
Gift of Katherine White and the Boeing Company
Provenance: [Ian Arundel, Los Angeles, California]; purchased from gallery by Katherine White (1929-1980), Seattle, Washington, 1972; bequeathed to Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 1981
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryLos Angeles, California, Frederick S. Wight Art Gallery, University of California, African Art in Motion: Icon and Act, Jan. 20 - Mar. 17, 1974 (Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, May 5 - Sept. 22, 1974). Text by Robert Farris Thompson. No cat. no., pp. 190, 197-8, reproduced pls. IX (color), 242 (as Epa mask).

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Praise Poems: The Katherine White Collection, July 29 - Sept. 29, 1984 (Washington, D.C., National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Oct. 31, 1984 - Feb. 25, 1985; Raleigh, North Carolina Museum of Art, Apr. 6 - May 19, 1985; Fort Worth, Texas, Kimbell Art Museum, Sept. 7 - Nov. 25, 1985; Kansas City, Missouri, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Mar. 8 - Apr. 20, 1986). Text by Pamela McClusky. Cat. no. 37, pp. 82-83, reproduced (as Mask (Epa)).

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Museum of Art, African Art, African Voices: Long Steps Never Broke a Back, organized by the Seattle Art Museum, Oct. 2, 2004 - Jan. 2, 2005 (Hartford, Connecticut, Wadsworth Atheneum, Feb. 12 - June 19, 2005; Cincinnati, Ohio, Cincinnati Art Museum, Oct. 8, 2005 - Jan. 1, 2006; Nashville, Tennessee, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Jan. 27 - Apr. 30, 2006).

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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