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'Mask' by Pende Artist, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Educating and Healing

Art in Africa often serves to transmit ancestral knowledge from generation to generation and to promote healing. Within Pende communities, masks painted black and white with distorted features—such as one in the High Museum’s collection—represent individuals who have fallen into a fire, their faces permanently disfigured. The theatrical masquerade performance in which such masks appear promotes compassion toward those who suffer.


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