The doorways of deception I Tom Objects!

published on July 3, 2020

these are probably the largest objects

in the exhibition their doors they're

made by a man called Aragon of Aussie he

was of the Yoruba people based in in

Nigeria and over an extraordinary long

career spanning several decades he

carved many such pieces like these and

they're really masterpieces of Yoruba

carving the row various scenes being

shown on these doors we see Arabian

merchants arriving on mules but the

figures I want to focus on are these

figures riding bikes marry bicycles or

maybe motorbikes and these represents

Europeans Texas are wearing European


helmets and dressed in colonial clothing

on the face of it this these could

almost be sort of respectful portraits

means after all it's it's showcasing

European industry and technical prowess

through the use of that bike image

however over the last few decades

scholars have begun to reinterpret the

imagery on these doors and in particular

to focus on the figure that one often

sees astride the mudguards of the of the

bikes now these have been identified as

SU a Legba a god in the Yerba pantheon

now he's a messenger God he he carries

messages between the world of the living

and the underworld but he's also a

trickster god he likes to pay play


he's also sexually provocative and the

the pipe that he smokes can be

interpreted as a phallic symbol in

effect he's being disrespectful to these

colonial agents the best part about this

story I think is that this passed

completely unnoticed when Eragon managed

to get these into the British Empire

Exhibition in Wembley in 1924

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