209. "Long, dangerous missions over enemy territory and inclement weather often necessitate fighter planes returning to their bases with gas in their tanks for little over 3 minutes flying time. Pilots of a 15th AAF squadron decided to form a club to be known as `The Three Minute Egg Club', with membership limited to those unfortunates who landed within the narrow margin." Left to right: 1st Lts. Clarence A. Dart and Wilson D. Eagelson and 2d Lt. William N. Olsbrook. 208-AA-47E-1. ( african_americans_wwii_ )
Learning about the mask’s role within late nineteenth century Songye communities as an agent of social moderation – marking life events and safeguarding secret knowledge – furthered my fascination. Kifwebe epitomize the scholarly challenges associated with African objects arriving in European and American collections during the first decades of the twentieth century. Elucidating the complex epistemologies from which these objects emerged, given the extremely partial and biased historical record resulting from colonialism, drives the field of African art history. The mask’s personal significance contributed to my choice to inscribe it permanently on my person. It was included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde on which I assisted as a graduate curatorial intern, and belongs to the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, where I am completing my PhD. Both of these institutions and the individuals that comprise them have shaped not only my approach to and understanding of art history, but also life more generally, in innumerable positive ways.