Friends of Textiles Lecture Features Colorful West African Yoruba Culture, Nov. 5

MELBOURNE, FLA.—Florida Institute of Technology will host Robin Poynor, professor of art history at the University of Florida, as part of the Friends of Textiles Lecture Series Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. in the Denius Student Center’s Hartley Room on campus. The lecture, “Yoruba Masquerades: Ancestors and Mothers,” will be preceded by a reception at 5:15 p.m.

Poynor will present an illustrated lecture on the colorful masquerades of the Yoruba culture of West Africa. He will address two types of masquerade events: Egungun, performed in honor of ancestors, and Gelede, held in honor of powerful female gods, ancestors and those with spiritual power.

Poynor teaches the arts of Africa and Oceania in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Florida. A student of the arts of Africa for over 40 years, he earned a doctoral degree at Indiana University. His initial fieldwork in Nigeria as a Fulbright Hays Fellow examined the arts of the Owo Yoruba Kingdom. Recent work addresses relationships between the Yoruba of Nigeria and Yoruba Americans, those who have adopted aspects of Yoruba religion and attempt to live a Yoruba lifestyle in the United States, specifically those in Florida.

Poynor has contributed to numerous books including A History of African Art (co-author) and Africa in Florida: 500 Years of African Presence. His current work includes the exhibition and catalog for Kongo Across the Waters—an upcoming exhibition at the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Fla.

The Florida Tech lecture is presented in conjunction with the Center’s current exhibit, Textiles & Culture: Highlights from the Permanent Collection, which will be on view at the Ruth Funk Center through Dec. 14.

The cost for the lecture is $10 for the general public; it is free to Friends of Textiles members and full-time students with ID. For more information, visit or contact the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at
(321) 674-8313.

Image: Headshot courtesy of Robin Poynor.

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