Maske by Phyllis Galembo | Published by Chris Boot
2010, Hardback, First edition, Very good condition (Second-hand)
Phyllis Galembo’s interest in the masquerade traditions of Africa and its diaspora began twenty-five years ago, with her first visit to Nigeria. Since then, she has travelled widely in west and central Africa, and regularly to Haiti, making portraits that document and describe the transformative power of the mask. Her subjects are participants in masquerade events, both traditional African ceremonies and contemporary fancy dress and carnival, all of whom use costume, body paint and masks to create mythic characters – sometimes entertaining and humorous, often dark and frightening, and always powerful and thrilling. Titled after the Haitian Kreyòl word for mask, is the first comprehensive collection of these portraits.
The book features 107 photographs organised into chapters by country, each introduced with an essay by Galembo including background details to the traditions featured along with details of her personal journey. The book is introduced by Chika Okeke-Agulu, himself a participant in masquerade events during his childhood in Nigeria, who asks questions about the survival and evolution of masquerade traditions in the 21st century. Designed as an object to treasure, the book is a serious contribution to studies of African art, an essay about the transformative power of dress and a work of vivid artistic imagination.