Saso L’Oju Egun (Behind the Mask) – AKIRASH: Fusebox Festival 2018

The Saso L’Oju Egun (Behind the Mask) exhibition consisted of two performances taking place at Big Medium as part of the Fusebox Festival in Austin, TX on April 18 and 22, 2018

photography by Scott D. Gordon

“EGUNGUN Masquerade festival is widely celebrated by adherents of the traditional religion in Southwest Nigeria, who believe that their ancestors reincarnate and pay them regular visits to bless them. The yearly festival is marked with pomp and pageantry. Egungun, as the ancestors are called, come decked in colorful costume, accompanied by loud drumbeats and song and speak in guttural voices to give the impression that they are not ordinary beings. People who are childless, sick or possessed of demons are prayed for. Farmers take their harvests to the king’s palace to be blessed by the Egungun before eating or selling them. Though masquerades are different from each other in terms of functions, appearance, structures and routine, the festival of masquerades are celebrated annually in Yoruba land and is said to contribute positively to the economy. At times, masquerades are used for political purposes.

 Olaniyi R. Akindiya, Art by Akirash