Tuesday, April 26, 2016

'Disguise': African Masks as Social Commentary

By Thmas Page
"Europa" (2008) by South African Nandipha Mntambo
NEW YORK---It seems no museum collection is complete without a few token African masks. Many of us have glimpsed them walking between exhibits, but few of us know what role they actually play to the many cultures on the continent that adopt them. Why, for instance, do members of Malawi's Nyau society dance around in an Elvis Presley disguise? The Brooklyn Museum in New York is looking to fill in the gaps with its new exhibition, Disguise: Masks and Global African Art. "Masks have long been used by African artists to define relationships―between individuals, communities, the environment, or the cosmos―and, sometimes, to challenge the status quo. [link]