Through African Eyes: The European in African Art,

Settlers: Although European settlers lived apart from their African neighbors, Africans observed them closely. These works reveal the results of those observations, such as this sculpture by the Yoruba artist Thomas Ona Odulate, who documented colonial life in his carvings.

By placing the dog in the foreground the artist is making a commentary on the European lifestyle and walking a dog as a leisure activity. In African cultures, dogs perform functional roles—they hunt and provide protection. In contrast, this sculpture represents the prevailing African stereotype of European culture in which love for dogs trumps that for humans.

Thomas Ona Odulate (active 1900–1950, Yoruba culture, Nigerian). Couple Walking the Dog, 1935–1955. Wood, Paint. Fowler Museum at UCLA, Estate of William A. McCarty-Cooper. © Fowler Museum at UCLA. Photo: Denis Nervig.
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