Inspired by GAN-generated images, these AR sculptures are speculative objects about forgotten & underrepresented non-royal Benin women, like myself. 

Prototype I: Ikegobo

An altar for the Sky Kings. Ikegobos [Altars to the Hand] are created to celebrate personal accomplishments. This Ikegobo celebrates female Ogisos [Sky Kings]. According to our oral tradition, Benin women played an active political role during the reign of the Sky Kings. Although little is known of this period, two women are identified on the list—Orhorho and Emose [Egharevba, 1968].

Prototype II: Ikegobo

In honor of Adégbés, a nonbinary title assigned to girls whose birth correlates with an odd number [That is, every 1st, 3rd, 5th etc.] position in a sequence of children. Adégbés are exclusively initiated into male cults and masquerade groups.

There is no single, monolithic Benin epistemology. Here, I use the term in reference to frameworks from communities located in the Northern and Southern parts of Edo state, Nigeria [formerly Benin Kingdom]. During the reign of the Sky Kings [900 AD], Benin was known as Igodomigodo.

REFERENCES

Egharevba, J. U. (1968). A short history of Benin. Ibadan University Press.

Eweka, I. (1998). Dawn to Dusk: Folk Tales from Benin. Taylor & Francis.

Layiwola, A. (1997). Gender tempered through metal: women in metal-casting in Benin City, Nigeria. Writing African Women: Gender, Popular Culture and Literature in West Africa, 191.