Showcasing the art and ritual of the African and African-diaspora religions

Statuette Representing Abakúa Ñañigo, or Íreme

Catalog Number: B030


Height : 18.2


Religion and Denomination: Santería (Cuba, Yoruba)
Ethnographic Origin: Cuban (Caribbean)
Materials: Straw
Usage: N/A
Detailed Description of Significance:

The statuette represents the Abakúa, an Afro-Cuban men’s initiatory fraternity, or secret society, which originated from fraternal associations in Nigeria and Cameroon. Known generally as Ekpe, Ngbe, or Ugbe among the multi-lingual groups in the region, the groups use the term ñañigo has also been used for the organization’s members.The secret society also is noted for the figure represented in the statuette, the Irémé, which is the Cuban word for the masked Abakúa dancer. The masked dancer is carefully covered in a tight-fitting suit and hood, and dances with both a broom and a staff, just as the statuette is holding in his hand. The broom serves to cleanse faithful members of the fraternity, while the stick chastises both enemies and traitors to the Abakúa traditions.

The white star on his hat may also allude to the Cuban flag.