At the time I didn't know who the artist was but my first thought was....now this makes sense. It was that moment of wow! This is an art piece I would love to see up close.
Last month I found and shared information about artist Lois Maillou Jones. I'm curious about African masks so I continue to explore the subject. I really enjoyed how she used these sculptures in her compositions. The above image is Les Fetiches, which displays multiple mask resting one over the other.
From an early age I've always been fascinated by the Madonna and child imagery. "Madonna, in Christian art, depiction of the Virgin Mary; the term is usually restricted to those representations that are devotional rather than narrative and that show her in a nonhistorical context and emphasize later doctrinal or sentimental significance. The Madonna is accompanied most often by the infant Christ, [but she can be depicted alone.]" 
The sowei mask evokes an ideal. The deep, shiny black surface recalls the smooth skin of young initiates and the deep pools of water where Sande’s guardian spirit resides. The downcast eyes, scarification marks, demure mouth, and styled hair communicate dignity and composure. Neck rings and a high forehead add to the mask’s beauty.
The Sande Society is a fellowship of women found in West African cultures, which aims at preparing girls for adulthood.