The Yoruba People from Southwest and Southern Benin

Published: 2021-09-04 04:50:13
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Art Criticism This artwork was made by the Yoruba People from Southwest Nigeria and Southern Benin around the first half of the 20th century. World War 1, World War 2, The Great Depression, the Cold War, were many major historical events that were taking place at the time that changed the worlds view on just about everything. The Yoruba People began creating their magnificent Sculptures, Pottery, Beadwork, Leather, and Headdress in the 12th through 14th centuries. Most artwork is made to honor the gods and ancestors and since there are more than 401 known gods to the Yoruba there is much sculpture and artwork made.
Because of the vastness in the number of gods, the Yoruba have been compared to the ancient Greeks in the amount of gods and in the similarities between the structures of the gods. The Yoruba People used their artwork as a means of trade along with their crops so, their artwork is important to Yoruba Society because it contributes to their economy. The Yoruba began to create more abstract wooden sculptures as their major art form later. The size of this work is as follows 127 by 50. 8 by 45. 7 cm . It is made out of carved wood and pigment. It is a carved wooden mask or headdress for the Epa Masquerade.
The Epa masquerade of the Yoruba peoples promotes the health and well-being of communities. Processions of masqueraders perform energetic dances which suggest higher powers of existence and, since they carry heavy masks, the strengthening of the body. The performers jump to the top of a mound, the result of which is an omen for the community. The elements used in this art are: Shape, the headdress uses a free-form or natural shape in the form of the rider and his horse. There are Lines, traced, drawn in, painted on the figurine, also on his hat. It also has a three dimensional form as it serves for a headdress, it is also round.
The headdress also incorporates color, dull oranges, white, brown and black. The texture seems rough with age. The work is organized and based on top of the headdress. There is balance, a flat bottom where the artist created the horse to stand on. The Rhythm is presented in the colors, the way there used continually. The emphasis is solely on the top of the headdress with the horse and rider, that’s what catches your attention first. The white dots are clearly seen on the rider, his horse the headdress, it’s in different places but it’s a pattern the artist uses.
There is definitely unity in this piece of artwork with the colors how they all blend together; you get the feel that the rider and his horse are meant to be a part of the headdress. The message the artwork communicates is strength, as the rider is on his horse. There is also a sign of choice or free-will that the artist express with the rider taking control of the reigns. The colors represent a connection with earth with its natural earth colors. Also the rider could be a warrior, strong, fearless, strong, and ready for battle. He has no weapons so he could also be a leader.
It could possibly be one of the many gods of the Yoruba people. I think the artwork is a beautiful unique piece of art. It’s a symbol of the Yoruba people for one of their traditions The Epa Masquerade that they celebrate. I like the artwork because of its colors; the culture that it stands for, it’s different. If I had the chance to keep it, I definitely would take it home with me, and have it displayed in my living room. Overall I like the artwork of the Yoruba people, it’s beautiful, different, unique, and also has a timeless quality to it. In my opinion it is a successful piece of artwork.

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