Over two million Ibibio live in Nigeria, between the Delta and the Cross River. The ekon society, whose authority stems from sculpted figures in the sanctuaries, exercises social control over the community. It presents the public with the marionette show during festivities that take place every seven years; music and dance are linked with a theatrical play.
This statue like other Ibibio statues has open mouth, teeth showing. The removable arms are separated and fitted the body. Similar sitting or standing figures with outstretched arms are used as marionettes in plays. The figures are so individual as to suggest portraiture, despite their schematic style.
This marionette was among 30+items from our collection filmed in "Wonderstruck" - an upcoming American drama film directed by Todd Haynes. The film stars Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams and has been selected to compete at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival
Theater release is scheduled for Christmas 2017