Juju man, Oyo

Community Commentary by Ashiyanbi, Akeem Abiodun within research project: 'Rethinking Relationships and Building Trust around African Collections' 2021

The photograph depicts a singing/dancing masquerade, a common feature among the Oyo Yoruba people. The masquerade sings and dances while playing the traditional Sekere, a local percussion musical instrument popular in Oyo town, which is regarded as the official musical instrument of the Alaafin of Oyo. There is a popular saying/song about the Alaafin which says that: sekera loba njo, meaning the king dances only to the sekere. The masked player is often followed by children who dance and receive offerings for the masquerade. The masquerade in this photo is dressed in the thickly woven local aso etu, a variant of the popular aso oke/ofi, atop a richly patterned adire wrapper. Photo was most likely taken in Oyo town right in front of a liquor store which depicts its license to sell wine and beer on a wooden board right atop its entrance. Such liquor stores are still common features all over the southwestern part of Nigeria.

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