We rarely know the names of past African artists, but Ali Amonikoyi is an exception, largely because he was a distinctive artistic innovator. He used metalworking techniques to make objects normally carved in wood and then used these objects in a nontraditional context. Moreover, he produced his works in proximity to colonial officials who observed and recorded his personal and artistic history.
Amonikoyi was a Yoruba born in Nigeria who migrated to Togo. There he used ancient brass-casting techniques to make mask forms resembling Yoruba gelede masks. These masks were placed on top of graves as memorials to the deceased, rather than being worn in dance performances.
Mask of male face with beard, elaborate cap, pointed features. Condition: Good.