The clothes we wear invariably telegraph information about our identity, our place in society and the stories we wish to convey about ourselves. The fantastically colorful costumes specific to African and Caribbean rituals and celebrations go several steps further, transforming ordinary people into mythic figures and magicians, tricksters and gods, and symbolizing the roles their wearers play in the ancient dramas that form the cornerstones of their cultural heritage. Phyllis Galembo began photographing the characters and costumes of African masquerade in Nigeria in 1985, and since then she has continued developing her theme throughout Africa and the Caribbean. This volume collects 108 thrilling carnival photographs from Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Zambia and Haiti. In magnificent color shots, Galembo's subjects pose in striped bodysuits that cover the entire body, including the face; or outfits made entirely of bunched greenery; or a lacquered wooden mask topped with a headdress featuring full-body models of other characters; or an oversize misshapen animal head and plywood wings. The carnival characters, rooted in African religion and spirituality, are presented in chapters organized by tribal or carnival tradition and are accompanied by Galembo's personal commentary, shedding light on the characters and costumes portrayed, and on the events in which they play a pivotal role. Maske is a serious contribution to ethnographic study, a photo-essay about fashion and an assembly of superb images.
Brand: Chris Boot
Used Book in Good Condition
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Phyllis Galembo is to be celebrated for her superlative photos of African costumery, thereby showing us the fantastic, fabulous, imaginative genius of the people she photographs. I'm in awe of such creativity. I must say, though, that the book was a disappointment. Its production did not live up to its subject. The photos themselves are fine - although I did expect a somewhat larger format, but there is something flat & ordinary about the dust jacket; the white background, the lack-luster font, in fact the general design, but, more important to me, is the inconsistent photo display. Some pages have photos on each side, most have photos on one side, with a blank reverse side. Its unprofessional appearance cheapens the presentation and gives the impression that the publisher wanted to make the book thicker than (to my mind) it should rightfully be. This is simply to forewarn, not to discourage, would-be buyers. The costumes are delightful, inventive, utterly wonderful. In spite of...
Hardcover, Plain Card Boards with Photographic DJ, 9.5" x 9", 208 Pages, 94 full-page color photos of masquerade masks & costumes, (71 depictions from Africa and 23 from Haiti), 7 Pages of text. Introduction by Chika Okeke-Agulu Original pricing : 30 Pounds (UK), $45 (US) Published by Chris Boot, 2010.
From the back cover : " 'Maske' is an album of Phyllis Galembo's powerful and thrilling masquerade photographs from Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Zambia, and Haiti." And these portraits are indeed powerful and thrilling...Okay - It's true that the photographs are posed and static, and it's also true that there is too little in the way of descriptions of each costume, and...yes...the presentation is a little spare and unbalanced....BUT.....the images themselves are striking and visceral works of art. The photographs have a wonderful dreamlike quality, as if they were tribal art seen through the lens of David Lynch. The book features vibrant, beautifully...
Arrived fast, not over packaged. So glad I bought this book; the costumes in it are inspiring and truly creative, made from all sorts of materials that one in our material western world might otherwise overlook. A very inspirational photo book for anyone interested in fashion, costumes and other cultures.
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