The African mask is the face of African art. Displaced and misunderstood, it is a brutalized face through its reluctant association with Western art history, anthropology and art museums. With Opened Mouths reflects on the masks’ presence in an alien context, on alien soil, in alien air. The masks are here not as representatives of who used them or to index what they were used for. Instead, With Opened Mouths attends to the absences surrounding these powerful objects: the absence of people, voices, sound and movement.
The exhibition is a performative engagement with absence and a space to open incipient dialogues between these masks and contemporary art produced by artists residing in Turtle Island, some from the African diaspora. With Opened Mouths speaks the language of refusal, but intonates possibilities for new affinities and new sounds of potential.
Header image: Atlantic Ocean