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January 17 – June 7, 2020
West Vitrines, Bill Boyle Artport
The works thread together elements of West African mask making traditions, fauna and organic forms to create an amorphous and fantastical tapestry. The interlacing of natural elements, and the geometric forms typically associated with the iconic medium, evoke an aesthetic that is at times haunting, futuristic and simultaneously traditional.
The sculptures are influenced by the cultural, spiritual, and political role of masks in West African societies, as well as the inherent embodiment of life within the traditionally static and inanimate form. Punctuating transitions in collective history and personal memory, the mask is a symbol of coming of age, death, birth and rebirth. This perpetual transition is encapsulated in the hybridity of the works, which capture a singular moment in the evolution of these creations. To experience this work is to come face to face with these beings, intimately bearing witness.
The works embrace the particular challenge of articulating mood, expression, and movement in the mounted visage of a mask. Familiar silhouettes take unpredictable and exciting turns, inspired by the evolving artistic tradition of Afrofuturism.
Hybridity and transition are also embodied in the sculptural process, whereby artistic and cultural influences collide with the limitations and possibilities of the surprising medium to influence the evolution of these forms.
Part of Kuumba25