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Phyllis Galembo: Maske


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For over two decades, Phyllis Galembo has documented cultural and religious traditions in Africa and among the African Diaspora. Traveling widely throughout western and central Africa, and regularly to Haiti, her subjects are participants in masquerade events, who use costume, body paint, and masks to create mythic characters. Sometimes entertaining and humorous, often dark and frightening, her portraits document and describe the transformative power of the mask.

About the Author

Phyllis Galembo is professor of art at the University of Albany, State University of New York. Her photographs have been exhibited at institutions around the world, including the American Museum of Natural History, New York; Fashion Institute of Technology, New York; George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; Kreyol Factory, Paris; Museum fur Voelkerkunde, Vienna; San Francisco Airport Museum; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York; Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.; Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs, New York; and Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. Her work has been collected by institutions, including the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; New York Public Library; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Rockefeller Foundation, New York; and Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut. In 1994, Galembo received a Senior Fulbright Research Award to photograph Kings, Chiefs and Women of Power: Images from Nigeria. She received a Hasselblad Masters Award in 2001 and an Artist's Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2010. Galembo's previous books include Divine Inspiration: From Benin to Bahia (1993), Vodou: Visions and Voices of Haiti (1998), and Dressed for Thrills: 100 Years of Halloween Costumes and Masquerade (2002). Chika Okeke-Agulu is associate professor of art history in the Department of Art and Archaeology, a core faculty member at the Center for African American Studies, and a member of the executive board of the Program in African Studies, for Princeton University. He was the Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor, Williams College, and is a fellow of the Clark Institute. He cocurated Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa (Whitechapel, London, 1995), The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945-1994 (Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, 2001), and Who Knows Tomorrow (Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 2010). His writings on African and African Diaspora art and artists have appeared in journals, including South Atlantic Quarterly; Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism; Glendora Review; African Arts; and Art South Africa. He is coauthor (with Okwui Enwezor) of Contemporary African Art Since 1980 (2009), coeditor of Who Knows Tomorrow (2010), and editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art.


...contains more than a hundred of her most arresting images, each subject a riot of colour, symbolism and mystery. -The Telegraph
They are colorful, intriguing and sometimes dark and forboding in nature, but these portraits of hers document the transformative powers and mystery of the mask. -Trey Speegle
It is a really remarkable work -AnOther

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