Mende Art

Masking Spirits Across the Seas

This exhibition is scheduled for implementation in late 2005 or early 2006 depending on the availability of venue and grants.

Mende Art

The 21st Century African youth Movement is envisaging showcasing several significant masking traditions of the Mende people in the South and Eastern Provinces of Sierra Leone. These will be the Gorboi, Kongoli, Nafaiyeh, Jaweh Yafei and the women’s masking tradition, the Sowei.

Masking spirit of Jawe Chiefdom

Masking spirit of Jawe Chiefdom

Twelve years of rebel war ravaged most of Sierra Leone. During the last decade, this beautiful country was the scene for the most gruesome atrocities in recent history. Both the war and prevailing poverty contributed immensely to the looting, stealing and selling of Mende artefacts out of the country. The rebel war was concentrated in the South and Eastern part of Sierra Leone, the land of the Mende people. “Masking Spirits Across the Waters: The Richness of Mende Expressive Culture of Sierra Leone and its Impact on America” will be a comprehensive attempt to bring together and catalogue the culture and art of the Mende people in a way that can be both scholarly and entertaining.

To make this exhibition a wonderful educational experience and a cultural phenomenon “Masking Spirits Across the Waters: The Richness of Mende expressive Culture of Sierra Leone and its Impact on America” will entail a symposium and a series of lectures by qualified scholars and non-scholars. We envisage a great and enriching cultural extravaganza of Mende art. Please give us all the help to make this possible.

About the Mende Language:

Mende is one of two  indigenous Sierra Leonean languages with a written script.  Vai is another one.  Mende is a language predominantly spoken in the South and Eastern provinces of Sierra Leone.

The  writing system, referred to as Ki KA Ku – the first three symbols, was designed in the early 1920s by Kisimi Kamara and others living in Vaama, a small town in the South of Sierra Leone.