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Celebrating 21st Century Masks From Africa & The Diaspora

All images courtesy of Seattle Art Museum

A new exhibition celebrating the art of African masks will soon open at the Seattle Art Museum. Debuting June 18th, Disguise: Masks & Global African Art features the work of contemporary artists hailing mostly from Africa and the diaspora who, through their art, interpret the alternate realities that come with disguising oneself. The presentation will also feature an ongoing masquerade celebration with otherworldly sounds, installations, photographs, sculptures and videos.

In a recent statement announcing the exhibition, the Seattle Art Museum’s Curator of African and Oceanic Art Pamela McClusky explained why the element of masquerade is crucial to the show. “While masks were exported in vast quantities to become a signature art form representing the African continent in the 20th century, masquerades were left behind. Disguise attempts to bridge the gap between the mask observed in isolation and the masquerade experienced as a catalyst.”

Disguise features work from 12 contemporary African artists, including Angolan photographer Edson Chagas, Nigerian contemporary artists Toyin Odutola, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Emeka Ogboh, Zina Saro-Wiwa and Iké Udé, Zimbabwean visual artist Gerald Machona, South African photographers Hasan and Husain Essop, Beninise photographer Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, South African mixed-media artist Nandipha Mntambo, and Kenyan-Indian visual artist Brendan Fernandes. Rounding out the show are pieces by Nick Cave, Alejandro Guzman, Jakob Dwight, Saya Woolfalk, Paul Anthony Smith, Ebony G. Patterson, Sam Vernon, Jacolby Satterwhite and William Villalongo.

Disguise: Masks and Global African Art runs from June 18th to September 7th at the Seattle Art Museum.

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