Music. Art. Culture. Knowledge. Spirit. Freedom!

Striking Chiwara sculptures from Mali.

Igbo / Lower Niger Architecture
(Do not remove description)
Montage of some interesting traditional architecture from the Igbo speaking area of Nigeria. Most, if not all of these buildings were created before the 20th century and are influenced solely by African aesthetics, meaning that they predate the colonial influence from British culture that eventual found itself commonplace in Nigerian architecture. The reason why I specified ‘Lower Niger’ in the title is because much of the architecture here has influenced and has been influenced by other architectural styles especially in the Lower Niger.
From top left;
[Top left] A woman painting a pillar of an Mbari (architectural heritage of the Urata people), a vault shrine that is usually dedicated to the earth force, Ala, and left to decay unmaintained. The buildings are typically layed out on a square planned foundation and with large pillars on the corners. They are unique buildings because no one is allowed and no one dares enter the buildings inner chamber which is regarded as sacred. The buildings is constructed completely of termite mud and is adorned on all faces with statues of deities, mythical creatures and people from popular stories and proverbs. Photo: Herbert M. Cole, 1930s.
[Second from top left] A high-roofed Olokoro Ekpe house in Umuahia, the Ekpe houses around the area of influence of the Ekpe society (which was transported to Cuba in Atlantic history as Abakua), were meeting houses for (male) members of the local ‘chapters’ of the Ekpe network. The buildings are off-limits to people who are not initiated into Ekpe. Photo: G. I. Jones, 1930s.
[Top right] A Bende (‘Abia State’) Ekpe house
[Below the woman] A storey-building from Emene Owo. Underneath it are screen doors typical of the architecture of the central areas of Igbo land. Photo: Zbigniew Dmochowski, 1960s.
[Middle] A war tower built in the 18th century Ukpor (now in Anambra State, Nigeria) by a man (General?) named Dike Madueke for the protection of his family. The construction of such war towers became common place in northern Igbo compounds during the turbulent period of the Atlantic slave trade, with raids hitting Igbo land the hardest in the 18th century. Dike’s tower is one of the last standing towers from that time period. Photo: Nigerian Arts and Culture Directory, 2000s. More Info.
[Middle right] This sepia photo is also of an Mbari with roof pitches on each of the four main columns. Photo: Edward Chadwick, 1930s.
[Below the Mbari in Sepia] The capitals of columns holding up a house in Onicha. Zbigniew Dmochowski, 1960s.
[Bottom left] Courtyard columns from Onicha. Zbigniew Dmochowski, 1960s.
[Bottom right] Compound entrance of Uri artist Mgbadunwa Okanumme. Liz Willis, 1986.

“ Vodou means “spirit.” It’s a Fon [a people of Benin, formerly Dahomey] word. It’s like, in English you say “spirit”; in Spanish you say “espirito,” and in French you say “esprit.” But it’s all the same; this is what we are. Our bodies are made of pieces of dust, just made up of dust. Inside the body is a spirit. That’s the mystery. An ant is a mystery; the chicken is a mystery; plants are mysteries. All is spirit. Until we understand that and raise our consciousness to see that we are not only made of flesh, we remain prisoners. We must be conscious that we are spirit. That way we will know what possibilities we really have, what power we really have as people. ”

— Mimerose Beaubrun, interview in Angels in the Mirror: Vodou Music of Haiti (via hoodoo-seed)

(via nohaysombraquemecubra)


The Legend 

L’arbe du Jazz