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Public Art Tour | Cambridge Arts Council
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"Inner City Totem I"

Maduna, Vusumuzi

Riverside, Sculpture

5 Callendar Street

Cambridge, MA 02139

Location Description: Cambridge Community Center, by front entrance

Date: 1981

Materials: Steel, wood

Dimensions: 15' x 4' x 18"

Maduna's two totems in Cambridge were his first attempts at translating African-inspired masks into large scale sculptures. The angular, imposing masks combine elements of African art with Maduna's own expressive style.

Born in Cambridge, Maduna (aka Dennis Didley) spent some time as a teenager at both the Margaret Fuller House and the Cambridge Community Center. He began his exploration of African culture with a study of African religions, and that brought him, quite naturally, to a study of traditional art forms, the embodiment of belief and myth. Art, for Maduna, is spiritually nourishing. "People gather strength through their roots," he says, "and it is through art that we hear our ancestral voices." As an adult, Maduna returned to the neighborhoods of his childhood with reminders of the African heritage that many in the community share. "Totem" literally means the emblem of a clan or family.

Maduna studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and has been an artist-in-residence in the African-American Masters program at Northeastern University. His work has been exhibited in several museums.