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African Mask & Harlem Renaissance Art: Loïs Mailou Jones

Last month I found and shared  information about artist Lois Maillou Jones. I'm curious about African masks so I continue to explore the subject. I really enjoyed how she used these sculptures in her compositions. The above image is Les Fetiches, which displays multiple mask resting one over the other.

African, african american art, african american artist, African art, Art, Art History, Artists, Black Art Historians, Black Art History, Black Madonna, Black Women, Blog, Iconography, sculpture

“Madonna” by Elizabeth Catlett

From an early age I've always been fascinated by the Madonna and child imagery. "Madonna, in Christian art, depiction of the Virgin Mary; the term is usually restricted to those representations that are devotional rather than narrative and that show her in a nonhistorical context and emphasize later doctrinal or sentimental significance. The Madonna is accompanied most often by the infant Christ, [but she can be depicted alone.]" [1]

African, African art, African Mask, Art, Art History, Black Art History, Blog, Iconography, sculpture

Mask for Sande Society

The sowei mask evokes an ideal. The deep, shiny black surface recalls the smooth skin of young initiates and the deep pools of water where Sande’s guardian spirit resides. The downcast eyes, scarification marks, demure mouth, and styled hair communicate dignity and composure. Neck rings and a high forehead add to the mask’s beauty.

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Introduction to Sande Masks

The Sande Society is a fellowship of women found in West African cultures, which aims at preparing girls for adulthood. [2]

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Sylvia Williams – Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art

Sylvia Williams directed installation of five inaugural exhibitions and more than 20 other exhibitions of traditional and modern art, including sculpture, photography, textiles and utilitarian objects. Under her direction, the museum acquired 845 works of art.*