This particular decorative wall mask is a powerful homage to one of the most revered natural inhabitants of much of the territory of the Brunka people. The title of this work is Crocodile Chieftain.
These very elaborate and almost narrative ‘ecological-cultural masks’ are an evolution emerging from the traditional Brunka ceremonial masks used in their annual ceremony, Danza de los Diablitos. Using the same wood species (balsa wood and tropical cedar) used for the worn masks, these unique ‘primitive’ art pieces are reminiscent of story boards allowing the mask artists to render scenes of the landscapes, flora and fauna of the Brunka tribe’s territory, as well as scenes from their native legends, cosmology and Pre-Columbian past.
Seen here in Gonzalez’s strong composition are ancestral warriors, bedecked in gold accoutrements, as they were, about the maw of the lord of their riverways and estuaries: kú (the crocodile in their Brúnkajk language). The mixture of naturalistic reptile scales and petroglyph motifs is simply sublime.