The Brooklyn Museum Is Rethinking The Concept Of "African Masks"
The Brooklyn Museum's 'Disguise: Masks and Global African Art' exhibit challenges the concept of the "African mask."
The Disguise: Masks and Global African Art exhibit, which first ran last summer at the Seattle Art Museum, will connect the work of 25 artists from across Africa and the Diaspora who have reinterpreted the traditional disguise. Together, their art explores themes of "race, women’s agency, queerness, the exoticization and eroticization of the 'other,' governmental corruption and the limits of empathetic understanding."
“Masquerade has long been a tool for African artists to expose hidden issues, and to challenge the status quo,” says Brooklyn Museum’s Associate Curator, Arts of Africa and the Pacific Islands, Kevin Dumouchelle. “Once masks were removed from performance and transformed into museum objects, their larger critical and artistic messages became lost. Drawing from today’s media-saturated world, Disguise’s artists fill the galleries with innovative and provocative contemporary works that remove us from our current moment and usher us into a space where closer looking and deeper perception prevail.”
Among the artists featured in Disguise are Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou (Benin), Nick Cave (U.S.), Edson Chagas (Angola), Steven Cohen (South Africa/France), Willie Cole (U.S.), Jakob Dwight (U.S.), Hasan and Husain Essop (South Africa), Brendan Fernandes (Kenya/Canada/U.S.), Alejandro Guzman (Puerto Rico), Gerald Machona (Zimbabwe), Nandipha Mntambo (South Africa), Jean-Claude Moschetti (France/Benin), Toyin Ojih Odutola (U.S.), Emeka Ogboh (Nigeria), Wura-Natasha Ogunji (U.S./Nigeria), Walter Oltmann (South Africa), Sondra R. Perry (U.S.), Zina Saro-Wiwa (U.S./U.K./Nigeria), Jacolby Satterwhite (U.S.), Paul Anthony Smith (Jamaica/U.S.), Adejoke Tugbiyele (U.S./Nigeria), Iké Udé (Nigeria), Sam Vernon (U.S.), William Villalongo (U.S.), Saya Woolfalk (U.S.).
The Disguise: Masks and Global African Art exhibit is on view at the Brooklyn Museum from April 29 through September 18, 2016 . Check out some of the exhibiting work below.