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Lwalwa people inhabit the triangle formed by the Kasai River and its tributary, the Lweta, southwest of the former Kasai province, DRC.

This mask, Mvondo, is worn only by men.  It displays an enlarged angular nose (modeled after a bird), protruding mouth, and slanted eyes all set on a deeply formed forehead.  These sharply delineated features often give Mvondo a geometric appearance.  This mask was used by the Lwalwa people for rituals when hunters returned empty handed and for male initiation and circumcision.

Mvondo are carved from a wood called mulela, and colored with a dye from the fruit of the mukula tree, also called the ‘sealing wax’ tree.  Sculpting is recognized a prestigious profession and is usually conducted by men.


Marjan Ertefai runs an interior design and architectural practice based in the FrenchAlps. An experienced traveller and avid collector of tribal arts, she believes art plays a central role in defining a space. She takes an intuitive approach to her design process, combining iconic furniture and objects of the past with contemporary pieces and indigenous arts from around the world.

Her relationship with talented artisans and resourceful foraging play in integral role in each project. The goal is not to create a template style, but to design a space that is personal, telling a story about its owner.

Her interest in art and architecture was broadened while attending the Architectural Association in London. Since then, she’s worked on designing and building several eclectic homes in London and France.