“These images are nearly life-size and explore spiritual realms of these masquerade cultures with brilliant, mesmerizing colors. For more than 30 years, Phyllis Galembo has travelled around the world to photograph participants in contemporary mask-making and masquerade events that range from traditional religious ceremonies to secular celebrations.
Galembo’s portraits are celebrated by the world’s leading fine art photography editors for their stunning resonance. Through her lens, the viewer gains special access to these rarely seen other-worlds as she captures the raw and sometimes frightening aspects of masks and ceremonial garb. She has made over twenty trips to sites of ritual masquerades, capturing cultural performances with a subterranean edge. The masking seen through her photographs is a complex, mysterious, and profound tradition in which the participants transcend the physical world and enter the spiritual realm.” ― Boca Raton Museum of Art
“I like the way viewers can grasp the real stories behind each image. Every mask, costume and fiber of material can represent so much to the people in these portraits,” adds Galembo. “Many of these subjects created these ritual costumes because a spirit inspired them. These are people who make masks and costumes that are very spiritually motivated,” says Galembo.
“For many people all over the world now, creating and wearing masks feels like a way they can reclaim some personal power,” said Phyllis Galembo. “Protective face masks aren’t just medical anymore, we can see on social media how they are becoming a part of fashion, of our cultural landscape. Ways that people can convey messages and reflect their own personality.”
As a new wave of mask-making creativity takes hold, Boca Raton Museum of Art education team has created new digital pathways for the public to enjoy online. These include mask-related online activities for families who are still at home, and video gallery tours for all ages.
Images courtesy Boca Raton Museum of Art.
*PLEASE NOTE: Boca Raton Museum of Art will reopen to the public on Wednesday, June 3. The museum offers free admission to all guests through September of this year, as a special way to give back to the community.