Additional Images

The Glided sculpture was inspired by a Dan Bird mask. 
Female Dan masks are known for the importance they attribute to the beauty of the face: the oval shape, the slightly prominent forehead, the fine nose, the half-open eyes, and the mouth. They enhance the fineness of these lines with a brilliant patina introduced into the wood, using vegetable substances. When they dry, they take on a soft color, which with use looks like lacquer. The function of these masks is to settle disagreements and to protect the newborn. 

The Dan usually make replicas of these masks, which they call «ma», to venerate them and as protection against diseases. They remain hidden and serve as proof of membership in the secret Poro society, becoming almost sacred objects, honoring them with offerings of rice and palm oil, and sacrifices at full moon times.

The face of the male Dan masks is more realistic, and sometimes with animal details. He has the life force, called «du», sent by Zlan the creator of men and animals. The «du» are numerous, and they tell people in dreams how they want to be represented. Sometimes they want a fetish or a tree to be planted, but they may also ask for a mask to reside in. Then the spirit materializes and transforms into a ‘gle’, and it can intervene directly in the life of the community. Each «gle» has its own function and presides over the different social events. They are also present in moments of danger or distraction. This is why there is a great variety of Dan masks.

In the work Gilded, the artist’s «ma» serves as a container for a «Glé» that channels transformative energy that can be activated. The mask is first burnt (evoking the burns of the past), then covered with copper pigment, which evokes light and inner wealth. The artist also plays on the resemblance of the word Gilded, which in English means to be gilded, covered in gold, with the word Glided, which designates the action of sliding from one state to another.  
Cécile Fakhoury Gallery, Dakar, Senegal