Totem 01/01-18 (Baga-Batcham-Alunga-Kota)

Totem 01/01-18 (Baga-Batcham-Alunga-Kota)


Hervé Youmbi

(Cameroon, b. 1973)

Wood, beads, glue and silicon mastic

Overall: 188 x 53 x 38 cm (74 x 20 7/8 x 14 15/16 in.)

Purchase from the Karl B. Goldfield Trust 2018.5

Fun Fact

The towering hybrid sculpture consists of contemporary carvings of four canonical African masks.


Totem 01/01-18 is a brilliant work that plays off the conventional codes of African art to present subversive arguments around issues of taxonomy, commodification, identity, and the system of value that underpins African art in the market and museums. It is a contemporary carving that combines five canonical African mask forms—Kota-Mahongwe guardian figures sit atop a Batcham mask of the Cameroon Grassfields whose back bears a Bembe Alunga mask, which surmounts a Baga d’mba headdress of Guinea/Guinea Bissau at the base—into a soaring superstructure.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email