West African Sculpture Featured at Museum

An exhibition of ritual objects found among the Yoruba people of West Africa opens Jan. 19 and is on display until March 16 at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University.

Organized by museum Director John Olbrantz, Yoruba Sculpture: Selections from the Mary Johnston Collection features 24 objects on loan from Johnston's collection in Florence, Ore.

Special events connected to the exhibition include a free lecture and a film showing. Pam McClusky, curator of African and Oceanic art at the Seattle Art Museum, will give a free lecture on Yoruba sculpture Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. in the Paulus Lecture Hall at the College of Law. An evening of free films on Yoruba art and culture is scheduled for Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Roger Hull Lecture Hall at the museum.

The exhibition includes masks worn in various festivals and rituals, such as the Gelede and Egungun ceremonies; cult figures made of bronze and wood, including Shango wands and Ibeji figures; Dun Dun drums used in different ceremonies; an elaborately carved 8-foot house post; a king's beaded crown; and an Egungun masquerade costume.

Mary Johnston, who holds degrees from the University of Oregon in anthropology and psychology, inherited the collection from her brother, who acquired it in Berlin, Germany in the early 1970s. She has devoted the past 20 years to studying the pieces.

Yoruba Sculpture: Selections from the Mary Johnston Collection has been supported in part by grants from the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax and the Oregon Arts Commission.

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is located at 700 State St. (corner of State and Cottage streets) in downtown Salem near the campus of Willamette University. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed Monday. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Children younger than 12 are admitted free, and Tuesday is an admission-free day. For more information, call (503) 370-6855 or visit