Last dance of semester turns Kansan in a Yoruba Masquerade
Curtis McCoy, DesMoines Iowa Senior, is a masquerader representing a native african doctor in the Yoruban Society. McCoy participated in the masquerade as part of a grade for Gitti Salami's Introduction to African Art class. (Ginny Weatherman/KANSAN)
By Nikola Rowe Kansan staff writer found at University Daily Kansan -
Salami, assistant professor of art history and African-American studies, found the tunnel when she first interviewed at the University of Kansas.
“I was taken through the tunnel and I knew it would be a great place for a performance,” Salami said.
In the middle of the tunnel, paper wrapped around five brick pillars. Behind the paper was a mysterious being that represented female energy, which was played by Monica Gundelfinger, Prairie Village sophomore, and Adrianne Verhoeven, Kansas City, Mo., junior. They tried to coax out the spirit of health by dancing, singing and getting the audience involved with the noise-making.
“It was exhilarating,” Gundelfinger said. “You could feel the energy from the audience.”
Students, staff and community members filled the tunnel. Some jangled their car keys and joined the spirits in evoking the health spirit out of hiding. Verhoeven said she didn’t just do this for the class, that she wanted to do it.
|What the professor liked best about the performance was that the group members were able to convey the difference between a masquerade and a theatrical or dance performance, she said. Masquerading is a genre of art that doesn’t really exist anywhere else except in Africa, she said. The assignment was not just to perform an African masquerade, but also to study the art and create a unique performance. Salami felt that the group was successful in creating a masquerade that related to the students’ struggles.
“It was beyond my expectations,” Salami said.
A masquerade shows that the tangible world and the spirit world are connected, Mocha Jackson, a senior from Kansas City, Kan., said. Jackson took Salami’s class to learn more about African art but now knows more about African culture as well.
“You can’t talk about the art without talking about the culture,” Jackson said.
The next portion of the masquerade included a muse spirit struggling with the spirits of weariness and time. The students thought that these were two things that kept creativity from happening, Salami said.
Mark Olson, curator in the art history department, said he attended because he received an e-mail from Salami and thought the project sounded interesting.
“It was a great idea for no other reason than the acoustics in here are great,” Olson said.
His wife, Stephanie, home schools and brought their 5-year old daughter, Annie, and Calred Holond, 5, to see the performance.
“I thought it would be cool for the kids to see,” Stephanie Olson said.
The girls clapped and danced along with the performers and enjoyed picking up the parts of the costumes that were left behind.
— Edited by Paige Worthy
The University Daily Kansan and Kansan.com are produced by students at the University of Kansas' William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
To read more University news related to african art, browse through the links above the page.
African masks from Known Collections
African Art Collectors,
Discover the African
Art books I like or join me on
Antiques is the archive and not growing much anymore but still updated.
Art to join our free newsletter and read recent African Art News.
For the last news about Kansan-Yoruba-Masquerade you should join our African
Art Club and become an insider of the African art market.
And if you are a collector of African Art,
have a look at our exclusive African
Art Collection for sale.
Call us at +32 3 227 35 40
african art | home
| african art shop
Centers for African Study
Malcolm Woods headstones
Virginia Museum of fine arts
Seymour Lazar collectionneur et Art Africain
Hofstra Museum NY
Washington Jefferson College
Sacramento state university
Virginia Art Museum
Hofstra University Museum
Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart
more African Art books I like