14 Rue de l’Abbaye, 1050 Bruxelles
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Didier Claes @Luc Van de Velde

Didier Claes is an African art specialist. Remarkable for his atypical career and his discovery of exceptional pieces from the very start of his profession, he is now one of the most widely renowned specialists in the domain of ancient African art.

In 2002, Didier Claes opened his first gallery in the famous Sablon district in Brussels. Since then he has devoted himself to presenting high quality works of art from important Western collections, and participating in leading Belgian and international events.

Today, the gallery is located in a prestigious space in the Avenue Louise area. Clients include numerous American and European collectors as well as international museums and institutions.

Ancestral figure edjo re akare, Peuple Urhobo

Ancestral figure edjo re akare
Urhobo people

Wood, pigments
H. 187 cm
Presumed period : End of 19th

Collected in situ by Philippe Guimiot, ca 1970
Roger Vanthournout, Izegem, until 2006
Auction Sotheby’s, Collections Andrea Portago, Roger Vanthournout,
Helmut Zake et Divers Amateurs
, Paris, 23/06/2006, lot 95
Swiss Collection, 2006–2020


Of all the Urhobo sacred cults, this ancestral cult predominates. Intended to commemorate the spirits of the forest, the Urhobo “edjo re akare” statuary is generally large, bears various military elements and displays all sorts of medicines intended to give the warrior the magical powers necessary for victory. The dignity of the stature, the strength superbly expressed in the sharp features of the face and its detailed finery, testify to the high rank of the ancestral spirit represented. Aggressive and virile, our example has suffered erosion damage, which allows us to judge the age of the exhibit. A crusty, whitish patina lies on the surface expressing purity.