In Yoruba worldview, life follows a cyclical trajectory in which every individual experiences the physical world (Aye) and, upon death, returns to the spiritual realm (Orun), where they are reborn as a protective ancestral spirit. In exploring the voyage that bridges the secular and the spiritual, Julien Sinzogan draws connections to another significant voyage tied to his Beninese heritage: the Middle Passage of the transatlantic slave trade.
Masses of Egungun masqueraders, the visible manifestation of ancestral spirits, are portrayed alongside the distorted figures of enslaved people chained against slave ships. Dressed in colorful costumes symbolizing familial lineage and traditional clothing, the Egungun appear to be intervening in the physical world. Or perhaps they represent the freed souls of the ship’s recently deceased? In French, désenchaînement translates to "unchaining," the act of delivering someone from chains. Aside from distinguishing the spiritual from the earthly, could color also evoke hope and freedom?
From the 2022 exhibition A Space for Dialogue 107, Coloring the Western Canon, curated by Chloe Jung '23, Class of 1954 Intern
ENGL 62.22/AAAS 88.11, Atlantic Slavery to Atlantic Freedom, Alysia Garrison, Winter 2021
SART 25.01, Painting I, Viktor Witkowski, Winter 2022
SART 25.02, Painting I, Viktor Witkowski, Winter 2022
College Course 35.01, Color in Art & Philosophy, Viktor Witkowski and John Kulvicki, Winter 2023
Humanities 2.01, The Modern Labyrinth, Lucas Hollister, Petra McGillen, Andrea Tarnowski, Laura Edmondson, Winter 2023
Art History 20.04, Faith and Empire, Beth Mattison, Spring 2023
A Space for Dialogue 107, Coloring the Western Canon, Chloe Jung, June 25 - August 21, 2022, Alvin P. Gutman Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.
Inventory: New Works and Conversations around African Art, Friends Gallery/Owen Robertson Cheatham Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 16-March 13, 2016.
October Gallery Trust, London; sold to present collection, 2015.
This record is part of an active database that includes information from historic documentation that may not have been recently reviewed. Information may be inaccurate or incomplete. We also acknowledge some language and imagery may be offensive, violent, or discriminatory. These records reflect the institution’s history or the views of artists or scholars, past and present. Our collections research is ongoing.
We welcome questions, feedback, and suggestions for improvement. Please contact us at: Hood.Collections@dartmouth.edu