African designs, £9.99
Height: 31.000 cm
Width: 11.000 cm
Donated by Mrs Eileen E. Robertson
Carving of a European official, by Bamgboye
20th century AD
This carving depicts Kenneth Robertson, an Education Officer in Nigeria in the 1930s. It was made by Bamgboye (late 1890s-1978), a well-known Yoruba sculptor from Odo-Owa in the Ilorin province of northern Nigeria. Bamgboye's artistry was recognised by the British administration and he was appointed Instructor in Carving at the government school at Omu. His work suffered, however, because the job demanded a focus on technique rather than allowing him to develop his own creativity.
Europeans established colonies in Africa that required a range of European officials: educators, administrators, traders and policemen, often with their wives and children. Yoruba artists represented these powerful 'outsiders' by focusing on their most characteristic features and by including emblems of hierarchy and status.