Indepth Arts News: |
"SPIRIT OF THE MASK"
2000-11-01 until 2000-12-31
Portland Museum of Art
Masks are more than just simple disguises. They turn the secular world into the sacred and the mundane into the magical. In festivals and
holidays around the world, masks elevate humans into the realm of gods and demons alike. They exude a power that is both magical and evocative. The
Portland Museum of Art is pleased to present Spirit of the Mask-a traveling exhibition of approximately ninety-five masks from the extensive private
collection of Carla Hanson, Kansas City, Missouri. The exhibit will run from November 1, 2000 to December 31, 2000.
The mask is only a part of a ritual that also involves musicians, singers and dancers. Their function may be to personify spirits, gods or ancestors, to assume
social control, to educate or to elude responsibility for one's actions. Mask performances have been important rituals on the Indonesian island of Bali for over
1,000 years. Some masks in Burma are even presented with offerings on a regular basis by performers and are segregated according to their good or evil
Although masks are often carved from wood, mask makers use a variety of local materials. Special masks are enhanced with boar's teeth, horsehair, jewels,
gold leaf, coins, buffalo hide, goat hair, rabbit pelts, feathers, mirrors and even blood. Animal masks are especially known for having moveable mouths and
protruding eyes with wide pupils.
Because of their beauty and power, masks can be seen in museums and appreciated as works of art. This display introduces the multiple cultures of five
continents, more than forty countries, and eleven Native American tribes. Some of the countries include Bali, Hungary, Burma, Thailand, India, Brazil, Bolivia,
Denmark, Germany, Mexico, Guatemala, New Guinea as well as eleven African countries. To emphasize their authentic cultural usage, photographs and prints
will accompany the masks.
With the assistance of Smith Kramer, Inc., a fine arts service company located in Kansas City, Missouri, this exhibition will travel to approximately fifteen
museums across the United States over the next two years.
Buffalo with a Bird Mask,
Collection of Carla Hanson