During my three month break, I was doing marketing and appraisal work for the Embassy of Ivory Coast in partnership with Faso Foods and with the the Madam Fatou Sylla Foundation. It was a joy to be able to metro into Embassy Row off of Massachusetts Avenue and to be able to work with artifacts from the past 50 years.
During my stint there, I learned that the Ivory Coast is comprised of sixty different ethnic groups with their own distinct language. The one language that unifies the entire country is French and that’s the main language I was immersed in at the embassy. There were also times where I wasn’t able to find a spare chair so I did most of my work sitting on distinct royally crafted chairs. I wouldn’t be lying when I said I felt like royalty at times.
African Art on The Move Exhibit has Baole, Guoro, Grebe and Goli masks that were actually used in religious and sacred ceremonies. My favorite mask was the Wambele mask since it represents a mysterious animal figure that symbolizes good versus evil, future against the past, and the union of opposites.
I also really liked the Maasai statues (seen in picture above) from Kenya since they both towered and awed me. Thanks to this experience, I am now able to identify which ethnic group from West Africa created which piece of art and why this artifact has a particular significance with the culture. In mid September, the African Art On The Move Exhibit had a gallery opening party that welcomed guests with fine wines, cheeses, and with life size statues as you see above.
The Embassy is having another gallery opening October 11 & 12 and it’s open to the public. Come by 6:30 p.m and get ready to immerse yourself into a treasure trove of Ivory Coast art. For questions about this exhibit and about purchasing these artifacts into your private collection or your local art museum, please contact Mimi Wolford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Embassy of Ivory Coast
2424 Massachusetts Avenue
Washington, DC 20008