- Museum number
- Object: La Bouche du Roi (The Mouth of the King)
Part of an artwork in the form of a ship, based on the print of the Liverpool slave ship 'The Brookes'.
Anthropomorphic mask ('Chacha') made from the upper section of a yellow plastic petrol can. A mouth is suggested by the circular, open spout; a nose by the handle; forehead and cheeks by the raised area above and below the handle; eyes by the depressed area beneath the handle. The mask is topped by a serrated crown of yellow plastic with a thin band of black plastic around its rim. Hair and a moustache are suggested by bunches of white synthetic hair attached to either side of the can and above the open spout.
- Production date
Height: 35.60 centimetres
Width: 35 centimetres
Depth: 15.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- La Bouche du Roi is a multi-media installation that comprises 304 plastic petrol can 'masks' as well as liquor bottles, mirrors, cotton cloth, glass beads, gourd bowls, cowrie shells, scales and an imitation gun. It also includes film and audio elements. The formal structure of the installation is based on the eighteenth century print of the Liverpool slave ship the 'Brookes'.
This mask represents Francisco Félix de Souza, the first white viceroy of the kingdom of Dahomey. De Souza was accorded this position as a reward for his part in a successful coup d'etat that resulted in Prince Gakpe becoming King Ghézo in 1818. The title 'Chacha', asssociated with the post, dates to this time; the origin of the title remains obscure.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2007 22 Mar-13 May, BM
2007 2 Jun-15 Jul, Hull, Ferens Art Gallery
2007 4 Aug-2 Sept, Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum
2007 15 Sept-28 Oct, Bristol's City Museum & Art Gallery
2007-8 10 Nov-3 Feb, Newcastle, Laing Art Gallery
2008-9 5 Dec-1 Mar, London, Horniman Museum
2009 3 Apr-31 May, Coventry, The Herbert
2021 12 Feb-29 Aug, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Slavery
- Associated titles
Associated Title: "Description of a Slave ship"; print of the Liverpool slave ship the Brookes commissioned by the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1789.
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number