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Mask

African Art

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Mask

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Mende Artist, Sierra Leone

Date

Late nineteenth–early twentieth century

Medium

Wood and raffia

Accession #

2006.227

Dimensions

18 x 13 inches

Location

On View - Stent Family Wing, Skyway, Gallery 401

Description

This Mende mask is a source of inspiration to Atlanta-based artist Radcliffe Bailey as revealed in his recent exhibition Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine. In 2006, DNA test results informed the artist that, on his mother’s side of the family, his ancestors came from the Mende region of Sierra Leone and nearby areas of West Africa. This information inspired Bailey to create a diminutive “family portrait”—an ink drawing of a Mende mask framed within a velvet-lined tintype case. More recently, Bailey printed the image of this Mende mask in full color on a steel plate, positioning the actual mask to be reflected onto its surface. This installation juxtaposed the ancestral world and the present day, collapsing the confines of time.

Credit

Gift of Bernard and Patricia Wagner