“IN AFRICA, FUNCTION IS INSEPARABLE FROM BEAUTY.
THE ARTISTIC QUALITY OF A WORK ENHANCES ITS RITUAL POWER.”

Jacques Kerchache had a private passion for Fon bocio protective figures. We celebrate this passion with a series of 'Discover' posts on bocio figures.


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Pende Mbuya

Ask the Spirits for a Cure

Mbuya masks, used to entertain during festivities, highlight various roles in Pende society. De Sousberghe lists about twenty mask types, representing various characters, including prostitutes, sorcerers, chiefs and clowns.


Songye Nkisi

Defender of the Living

Spirits of the dead, mikishi, either benevolent or malevolent, were of great importance to the Songye. Banganga diviners defend communities against illness and crop failure by harnessing mikishi in mankishi power figures.


Chokwe Mwana Pwo

Feminine Beauty

Masks of both fibre and wood are worn during the mukanda initiation ceremony for young boys and these include the mwana pwo ‘beautiful young woman’ mask, danced with discreet and elegant movements to teach grace and manners to the women present.


Luba Mboko

Ask the Spirits for a Cure

During divination, mboko vessels are used to help facilitate the identification of ailments and misfortune. The female form is widely depicted reflecting the importance of women in Luba society, descent being traced through the female line. Thus mboki figures are also used by Luba royalty to reinforce their roles.


ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA Spotlight

Explore the World of African Art

SPOTLIGHT by ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA is the world’s first and only socially focused platform dedicated to African art. With SPOTLIGHT you can manage, discover, and collect African art from across the globe, on any device—free!