Amsterdam, Netherlands. 2018
I painted this mural as an spring homage to the women prosperity, inspired by the Zaouli masks.
On my research of different uses of masks in rituals in different countries and cultures around the world. Few year ago I discovered the Zaouli, a popular dance created by Gouro ethnic group (Ivory coast, Africa) in the fifties.
The Zaouli dance is a mesmerizing dance, and is performed by a masked character. According to what people say (because there are diverse legends regarding the origin of the Zaouli mask and dance) Djela Lou Zaouli was a goddess for the Gouro people and the words ‘Djela Lou Zaouli’ mean ‘The Lions daughter’.
This Dance is celebrated with wonderful music and dance of the Manfla region of Ivory coast. The mask is created to capture the beauty of Djela Lou Zaouli, lest she be forgotten.
The man who performs the dance wearing the mask is considered a reincarnation or an spirit and represents beautiful women of the village and prosperity. Also it uses it to bring about and strengthen togetherness, that is links within the Gouro community. Such togetherness is extended to other communities. The Zaouli is seen, as a result, as a peace-making cultural item.