Pieter Hugo made this photograph while traveling with Gadawan Kura, or “hyena handlers,” in Nigeria. The group of men with one little girl, three hyenas, four monkeys, and some rock pythons practices a tradition of itinerant minstrelsy passed down for generations, entertaining crowds and selling traditional medicines. Hugo, drawn to document the peripheries of African societies, worked with the troupe on-and-off for two years, making a series of haunting double portraits that convey not only the marginalization and poverty of uncontrolled urbanization but also the pathos of cross-species relationships, striking a balance between mastery of nature and interdependence.

Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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Pieter Hugo, South African, born 1976
Abdullahi Mohammed with Mainasara, Lagos, Nigeria
from the series The Hyena and Other Men
Chromogenic print
Image: 60 × 60 in. (152.4 × 152.4 cm) Sheet: 68 × 68 in. (172.7 × 172.7 cm) Frame: 70 3/8 × 70 3/8 × 2 1/2 in. (178.8 × 178.8 × 6.4 cm)
Credit Line

Museum purchase funded by Alfred C. Glassell, III in honor of Thomas Buchholz, Marc Cuenod, Thad T. Dameris, Trevor Jefferies, W. Gregory Looser, Christopher Odell, Ned Smith, Winston Talbert, and Ben Wolinsky at "One Great Night in November, 2014."

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number

Artist, through Yossi Milo Gallery, New York; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, 2014