West African Languages

West Africa's unique languages and scripts

“Human speech is like a cracked cauldron on which we bang out tunes …” ― Gustave Flaubert So prosodic are the primarily tonal languages of West Africa, that most speech reverberates far, able to be beautifully mimicked, rhythmically reproduced, and literally “banged out” through the elaborate talking drum motifs inherent to this region of the world. This … Read more

The West African Mask

“When fully activated, masks become ‘spirits made tangible’.” — West African masquerader turned curator, artist, and art historian, Chika Okeke-Agula As sculptural, aesthetic, and museum-worthy as the mask may be, it cannot and was never meant to, stand on its own, at least in traditional West Africa. It is but an agent, a medium for … Read more