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Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center

1325 S Cliff Avenue
P.O. Box 5045
Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5045
605-322-8000

Behind The Mask - Sculpture Walk 2012-13

Sculpture Details

Behind the MaskSculpture Title: "Behind The Mask"

Artist: Felix Ehis

Location: Plaza 1, First Floor Lobby

Amount: $10,000

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: 42h x 12w x 16d

Sculpture Walk Season: 2012-13

Felix Ehis - Interview

Felix EhisFelix says the inspiration for “Behind The Mask” came from the masquerades performed in his native country of Nigeria, as well as in most of Africa. “If you come to Africa, you’ll most likely see a masquerade,” he says. “Many people view them as being scary and dirty; however, there is one thing about these masked performances that I want people to know: the person inside, or behind the mask, is different than how they are perceived with the mask.”

Felix says this piece, which is made of bronze and stands 42 inches tall, is typical of his work. “Anytime you see my work, you immediately know that it’s mine,” he says. “I have a very distinct style.” Felix almost always finds a way to pay tribute to his heritage; he was born into a royal family of the Oba of Benin from the linage of Oba-ozolua in Benin City, Nigeria.

The sculptor, who went to school for industrial physics, was told at an early age that he had a natural artistic ability. He was strongly encouraged by his art teacher to foster his creativity. “My art teacher said I was the best art student in my class,” he says. “After secondary school uncompleted, I went into art as an apprentice while on that, I was looking for admission at a university (with WAEC certificate private). I had the distinct honor to work with a famous African contemporary artist, and he taught me everything there is to know about sculpting.”