Ogoni Antelope Mask, Nigeria #875

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  • Ogoni Antelope Mask, Nigeria #875
  • A carved wooden mask with classic facial features and tall spiral antelope style horns, weathered surface. Ogoni People, Nigeria.
  • Measurements: The mask measures 22" height
  • Provenance: The Robert Banks Collection, Maryland, USA.
  • The Ogoni People inhabit the Rivers South East senatorial district of Rivers State, in the Niger Delta region of Southern Nigeria. They number just over 2 million and live in a 1,050-square-kilometre (404-square-mile) Homeland which they also refer to as Ogoniland. They share common oil-related environmental problems with the Ijaw People of the Niger Delta.
  • The Ogoni rose to international attention after a massive public protest campaign against Shell Oil, led by the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), which is also a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO).
  • Despite the introduction of Christianity, many aspects of the indigenous Ogoni Culture and Religion are still evident. The land on which they live and the rivers that surround them are very important to the Ogoni People. They not only provided enough food, they are also believed to be a God and are worshiped as such.
  • This explains why the Ogoni People have so many difficulties with the degradation of the environment as a result of oil pollution.
  • The fruit of the land, especially yams, are honoured in festivals. The annual festival of the Ogoni people is held during the period of the yam harvest.
    The planting season is not just a period of agricultural activity, but it is a Spiritual, Religious and Social occasion. 'Tradition' in Ogoni means in the local tongue (Doonu Kuneke) the "Honouring of the Land". The Ogoni People believe that the Soul of every human being has the ability to leave its human form and enter into that of an animal, taking on the shape of that animal. These characteristics show that nature is very important for the Ogoni People.