Mbari: Art as Process in Igboland

by Herbert M. Cole
Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara

Back side of the mbari to Afoukwu at Lagwo by the artists, Ezem and Akalazu. Igbo peoples, Nigeria, opened in 1965. Photo by Herbert M. Cole.

All sexual images cause laughter, sometimes embarrassed or nervous, because any open display of human sexuality is strongly forbidden in Igbo life. The "man is goat" group recalls wanton (and foolish) sex among people unable to restrain themselves. Goats to the Igbo are lewd and dumb—the group is a good lesson for children who see the mbari.