Journalist and writer Hıfzı Topuz’s collection of African masks and sculptures are on display at a new exhibition opened on April 6 in the Turkish capital Ankara.
The collection, which he gathered during his travels to Africa over 25 years, can be seen at CerModern in the exhibition titled “Africa Magic.”
The exhibition includes nearly 500 original masks used by ethnic communities in Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Congo in religious ceremonies, weddings, and fertility ceremonies.
The exhibition is mostly made up of wood carving masks as well as ones with metal details and beads. A mask made of elephant foot skin stands out among the outstanding works of the exhibition.
Topuz, who came from Istanbul to Ankara for the opening ceremony of the exhibition, said that he collected the artifacts from auctions and in France and his travels to Africa.
He said that he went to Paris for a master’s degree in 1957 and saw the first examples of African art in the house of the poet Nazım Hikmet’s wife Münevver Hanım.
“The house was full of African masks and sculptures, like in museums. I told myself that if I go to Africa, I will collect them, too.”