Arts of Africa
Adewunmi depicts an unseen woman whose appearance fits a culturally defined model of feminine beauty. Her beads reference jewelry from Benin, a historic Nigerian kingdom (twelfth to nineteenth century). Only select Benin courtiers could wear imported coral beads, and the court’s artists were only men. But changing practices, new materials, and international trade have made these beads widely available. Today, coral or plastic beaded jewelry that emulates historic royal regalia is standard for brides at Bini (Edo) weddings. Like Miriam Schapiro a generation earlier, Idahor uses collage to cast a female gaze over the traditionally masculine domain. Without proclaiming herself a feminist (see nearby film), she presents a Nigerian woman’s take on royal Benin art, a historically male practice that became a national symbol. This collage combines sculpture, photography, and drawing to produce an image of sensuous depth.
Photo paper collage, pen, and color pencil on paper
47 1/2 × 34 13/16 × 1 3/4 in. (120.6 × 88.5 × 4.5 cm) (show scale)
Gift in memory of Frederic Zeller, by exchange
This item is not on view
Taiye Idahor (Nigerian, born 1984). Adewunmi, 2018. Photo paper collage, pen, and color pencil on paper, 47 1/2 × 34 13/16 × 1 3/4 in. (120.6 × 88.5 × 4.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift in memory of Frederic Zeller, by exchange, 2019.7. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Image courtesy of Tyburn Gallery, CUR.2019.7.jpg)
. Image courtesy of Tyburn Gallery, 2019
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