Ecological & Cultural Masks

The Brunka tribe’s purely ‘ecological’ masks are an evolution, or play on themes, rooted in the original ceremonial diablo masks. If the hybrid ‘eco-diablo’ masks were the first exploration of abstracted expression based on the traditional diablo – type masks, then the ‘ecological’ masks have abstracted even more, delving into pure animal and vegetal motifs. These wonderfully elaborate objets d’art – obviously these are not made to be worn – are almost allegorical, and indeed, offer the mask maker a canvas onto which they create vignettes of their native territory, with all of the creatures, plants and spirits which therein dwell. The visage, or merely facial part of the worn, traditional diablo mask, has been reduced to a small, but focal spirit, or ancestral ‘face’ seen encrusted, or ghost-like, in the vignette bearing a constant and mute witness to their ancestral presence in their landscape.

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