African art in “A New Leaf” (1971) & À gauche en sortant de l’ascenseur (1981)

A blog reader was so kind to signal me the presence of two Bamana masks in the cult classic A New Leaf, directed by Elaine May (1971). Two Bamana masks from Mali can be observed in the living room of the main character, Henry Graham. Walther Matthau plays this wealthy playboy and I assume the set designers found it appropriate that such a character had African art in his living quarters!

In another comedy, À gauche en sortant de l’ascenseur (1988), the apartment of the lead actor, the shy painter Yann (played by Pierre Richard) is also packed with African art – below an Afikpo mask from Nigeria. A must see if you are in for a laugh…


Masks of the Afikpo

My son and I wish you a wonderful weekend !

Afikpo Felix Claessens

Cultural anthropologist Dr. Simon Ottenberg documented the traditions of this region during the 1950′s – 60′s, which resulted in an in-depth book, ‘Masked Rituals of Afikpo: The Context of an African Art’, and archive of images now part of the Smithsonian. Click here for a short preview of his book, showing multiple field-photos and masks.

ps my son Felix was so kind to donate this wonderful Afikpo mask to the Antwerp Ethnographic Museum after having realized it was not his size and it would serve a better purpose in the museums’s collection.