An artist from Madagascar, Jean Terry Efiaimbelo continues the tradition of creating aloalos, steles that serve as grave makers that represent particular memories of the deceased. Building up on the vibrant work of his male descendants, this tradition was passed on by his grandfather, Jacques Jean Efiaimbelo, who got his knowledge from his great-grandfather Soroboko.
The descendants of Efiaimbelo, members of the Temaromainte clan live on the land of their Ancestors, amongst the “invisible”, in Androka. Today, only five members of the clan are preserving this unique practice in the same style as their distinguished inspirer.
Aloalos are traditionally made from Mendorave, a very dense, rare and sacred wood exclusively cut and handled by sculptors. The piece is comprised of two parts - the base, which is a pole, and a horizontal platter on top of it, which features a figurative scene depicting a moment of daily life, a tale, a legend, ancestral wisdom, or a stories shared by members of the Termaromainte clan.
Featured image: Jean Terry Efiaimbelo - Soccer Team (Mpanao baolina kitma), 2012 (detail). Wood, paint. 72 4/5 × 20 9/10 in. 185 × 53 cm. Photo courtesy Perrotin