The Egungun association is a secret voodoo society which honors spirits of the ancestors and perpetuate their memories.
Despite the time the Egungun society keeps his strengh and his sacred aspect.
These ancestral spirits are believed to be in constant watch of their survivors on Earth. They bless, protect, and warn their Earth relatives, but they also can punish them depending on how they neglect or remember them. They protect the community against evil spirits, epidemics, witch-craft, and evil doers, ensuring their well-being. The ancestral spirits may be invited to come on the Earth physically, the Egunguns are the receptacles of these spririts.
Egungun appears in the streets by day or night, leaping, dancing, or walking and uttering loud cries. He is supposed to have returned from the land of the dead in order to ascertain what is going. He may thus be considered a kind of supernatural inquisitor who appears from time to time to inquire into the general domestic conduct of people, and to punish misdeeds.
In my work, triptychs and diptychs allow me to deconstruct the space and rebuild it again in a new way, more poetic and odd. That’s a way to create a fourth dimension, to reveal the supernatural essence of the character. The mask, the character, pictured motionless, occurs in this space, opening up a bridge from one world to another, between the spirit world and earth.
In Yoruba culture, this transition point is named ‘Igbalé’. The igbalé is a sacred no man’s land, usually located in the forest or in the convent. For this reason, forests and landscapes are recurring elements within my visual arrangements.
This serie Egunguns is part of a bigger project named “Magic on earth” is’t a long term, still ongoing project, begun in 2010, about traditional cults and masquerade in West Africa.