Aloyce Kilmala (50) was born in Dar es Salaam of Mozambiquen immigrant parents. He learned his carving art from his father and grandfather who were mask makers. The Mapiko dance is an exclusive men affair among the Makonde people. The ritual dance, once used to exorcise demons (used typically in response to the Portuguese colonial rulers) utilize the drums ngoma, horn lupembe and mask. The carved painted wooden masks identifies the performer’s event or person while protecting their identity.
In the 1950s Dar es Salaam missionaries helped organize a performance group and persuaded some to carve Jesus and Mary to aid in their evangelical efforts. Soon items popular for tourists were carved to sell long side the performances.
Aloyce learned to make these small items from his grandparents and father. He was able to complete primary/standard level school, but never attended a Makonde caring school as none exist. He started carving at the age of 9. He lost his teachers early: his grandfather at age of 11, his father when he was 25. His mother lives in Dar es Salaam. He taught his younger brothers Bernard, Charles and Herman, who has since died.
Aloyce is starting his first commission for the Gibb’s Farm permanent art collection.