New exhibit pushes viewers to connect with an African tradition of honoring ancestors


Students, staff and faculty collaborated across departments to create the “Whirling Return of the Ancestors” exhibit, which highlights one tradition of honoring the departed among Yorùbá people in Western Africa and the diaspora. Emily Hamer

As you enter the Ruth Davis Design Gallery in the School of Human Ecology, a lively beat of drums and singing hums in the background.

A deep pink costume adorned with shiny beads and sequins stands tall in the front window, its many layers nearly reaching the ceiling. The piece slowly spins in circles, bringing to life the spinning dances of Egúngún masquerades, which are celebrations of the ancestors among Yorùbá peoples of West Africa.

Toward the back of the gallery, a video of Egúngún festivals in Nigeria and South Carolina plays….

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