Death at the Crossroads: A Dramatic Reading of Yoruba Art

January 19 – August 6, 2016

death costumeThe MOA’s extensive Yoruba collections are showcased in this exhibit, set as a visual narration of Nobel Prize-winning author Wole Soyinka’s classic play, Death and the King’s Horseman. The play takes place in colonial-period Nigeria, West Africa, and centers on the funeral of a Yoruba king and the British government’s attempts to stop it. Visitors can trace the character arc of the play’s protagonist, Elesin, through an exploration of Yoruba masks, sculpture, clothing, tools, and musical instruments. The exhibit comments on the themes of the play, including visual/verbal metaphor, power and politics in society, gender roles, colonization, and what it means to lead a good life (and death).