Grebo’s masks represent where the invisible spirits of the forest lie. They are of two types: the first tends to naturalism, while the second one is more geometrical. All masks present the typical solution adopted by African artists, and codified by Grebo’s figurative tradition, that is to say simple but strong features, harmonic and stylized contours (such as the depiction of the eyes, which are cylindrical reliefs instead of holes). Grebo’s art influenced Picasso in some of his various works.
Grebo ceremonial mask
Grebo ceremonial mask, with visible signs of wear and tear, which add value and charm of the essential cubistic design. It stands out for its disarming simplicity. It is a board by jagged contours. On the surface, the long and sharp nose stands out, as well as the various cylindrical eyes and the rectangular traditional mouth.
Grebo dance mask with beak
This Grebo mask, used during dances, is distinguished by its high flat forehead, decorated with circular designs. Also circular are the protruding eyes. Besides, there is a jutting nose, shaped like a beak, underneath of which there is a decorating braided beard. Mainly, this a fascinating cubistic composition. Signs of wear and tear certify its originality.
Grebo war mask
This abstract flat wooden mask is by Grebo ethnic group. It is formed by a board with elongated nose, which in this case resembles to a long beak; besides, there are the typical tubular eyes. This kind of artwork appeared during rituals reserved to male initiates and some festive occasions, when the whole population was able to admire them. These war masks were primarily used to terrify enemies during battles and at the funerals of warriors.
Extraordinary Grebo mask for tribal dance
It stands out for its disarming simplicity: a board with shaped contours, on which come to light the long and sharp nose, the cylindrical eyes and the rectangular mouth. In this naiveté, there’s so much elegance in the contour lines, so much sensitivity in the soft modulation and in the volumetric distribuition, where volumes imperiously emerge from the flat surface. This is one of those masks that surely were a source of inspiration for Pablo Picasso.