Terminated Ritual

“Terminated Ritual” is a spatial installation that uses the format of an exhibition to call out the Western art museum system for taking objects out of their cultural continuums and putting them on display for aesthetic purposes. These artifacts aren't necessarily seen as art by the creators, rather tools that serve religious and ritualistic purposes.

When put in a museum, they lose this context, and the connection that people once had to it is also lost. I made three posters analyzing the language used around these objects to point out how problematic the terminology and the manner of acquiring some of these objects are. The absurdity of the language is pointed out by using an approach similar to that of blackout poetry. With each poster, words gradually disappear until the most problematic ones appear in red on the final poster.


The text is excerpt from an essay written by Werner Schmalenbach found in an exhibition catalog called "African Art" by the Barbier-Mueller Museum. There is a title card in front of the display case I fabricated that gives information about an Ifa divination board that has the phrase “returned to Nigeria” at the bottom. In an ideal world, this piece would be returned to Nigeria so that the Yoruba people could use it to gain divine wisdom.