Skip to Content

Lecture: Yoruba Egungun Masquerade Performances for the Ancestors



Admission actions

  • Free, registration required

Image 1

Egungun Atipako, Ibadan, Nigeria 
Photo: Bolaji Campbell, 2007

Yoruba arts are essentially dynamic and performative, so it should be no surprise that Egungun, like most masquerade performances organized by this West African culture, is a multimedia and multisensory tradition.

Bolaji Campbell, professor of African and African Diaspora Art at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), shares how music, poetry, and choreography are essential to the aesthetic experience of Egungun masking traditions as practiced by the Yoruba of West Africa and their descendants in the diaspora.

This program complements the exhibition The Language of Beauty in African Art, which brings together more than 250 sculptures and other art forms from dozens of distinct cultures across the African continent.

About the Speaker

Bolaji Campbell is Professor of the Arts of Africa and the African Diaspora in the Department of Theory and History of Art and Design at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI. Campbell holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as an MFA and a BA in Fine Arts from the Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife) Nigeria. He has published numerous essays in learned journals and books, including, Fabric of Immortality: Ancestral Power, Performance and Agency in Egungun Artistry (Africa World Press, 2020) and Painting for the Gods: Art and Aesthetics of Yoruba Religious Murals (Africa World Press, 2008).

Please note that this is an in-person event that takes place at the museum. In accordance with state and City of Chicago guidelines, visitors to the museum are no longer required to wear masks or provide proof of vaccination, though anyone who would like to wear a mask is encouraged to do so. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 in the week before your visit, we ask that you stay home. We appreciate your help in keeping the museum a healthy and safe place for our staff and visitors. Learn more about our visiting policies.

If you have any questions about programming, please reach out to

This program is generously sponsored by

Logo2008 Jpmc A Black


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions