A dynamic look at the potential of disguise seen in masks, installations, and performances by contemporary artists of African descent
While masks are a major art form in many parts of Africa, their use has taken new turns in the 21st century. Disguise: Masks and Global African Art explores how themes related to masking and disguise in the past are now transitioning into new platforms around the world. The authors examine the influence of masks residing in the Seattle Art Museum’s renowned collection, investigating the longevity of masquerades, and how they offer ways to disrupt and reimagine reality.
In today’s global and digital world, artists are engaging with disguise through photography, video, and interactive platforms. Ten contemporary artists interviewed for this catalogue create work that conceals, layers, and reinvents identities. They include Jacolby Satterwhite, who creates extravagantly choreographed videos; Brendan Fernandes, whose performance-based works show how dance embodies disguise; and Zino Sara-Wiwa, a video artist and filmmaker who has examined the status of traditional Ogoni masks in the midst of Nigeria’s destructive oil trade. They are joined by numerous others from around the globe who address the intersection of disguise, identity, ritual, and contemporary life.