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North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc. (Raleigh, NC 27607-6433)
Amanda M. Maples (Project Director: September 2020 to present)
New Masks Now: Artists Innovating Masquerade in Contemporary West Africa

Planning for a traveling exhibition, a catalog, and public programs exploring the contemporary arts of masquerade in four West African countries.

Masquerade has long stood as the iconic “African” performance genre, and yet the artists who create masquerades are often unacknowledged and under-represented in exhibitions and publications. New Masks Now: Artists Innovating Masquerade in Contemporary West Africa - a nationally and internationally traveling exhibition, scholarly publication, and a series of public engagement programs - will showcase the artworks and voices of individual creators and offer a fresh take on the vitality of masquerade arts. New Masks Now makes clear that creativity in African masking is fundamentally contemporary. The project challenges both the widely held ideas of the “anonymous African artist” and assumptions that masquerade is an unchanging, static artform solely rooted to the distant past. This project is rooted in humanist ideas, questions, ethical methods, and a concerted effort to foster meaningful engagements with public audiences and communities.

Project fields:
African Studies; Art History and Criticism

Exhibitions: Planning

Public Programs

$69,023 (approved)
$69,022 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2021 – 12/31/2022