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African Art
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Artist: Thomas Ona Odulate, active 1900–1950

Polo Player

early to mid-20th century

Wood, metal, fiber and paint

13 1/4 × 4 1/2 × 9 in. (33.66 × 11.43 × 22.86 cm)
Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection
African artists often commented on European behaviors that they found peculiar or against their norms and values, which may be the case with this polo player. The artist Thomas Ona Odulate became known for his miniature thorn carvings and created composite sculptures documenting colonial life that always have a humorous twist.
Guinea Coast, Nigeria
20th century

Irwin and Marcia Hersey, New York; Sotheby's, New York, Tribal Art, May 20,1987, Lot 263; Charles B. Benenson Collection, Greenwich, Conn; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


“Acquisitions, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2006,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2006): 222.

Sotheby’s, New York, Tribal Art, sale cat. (May 20, 1987), Sale # 5587, lot 0263.

Frederick John Lamp, Amanda Maples, and Laura M. Smalligan, Accumulating Histories: African Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2012), 293, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.