It Is All A Masquerade

Phyllis Galembo
New York based photographer Phyllis Galembo has travelled between the Caribbean & West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Sierra Leone) documenting the magnificent costumed world and rituals of  The Masquerade. The male-dominated artform is used as a means to illicit awe, inspiration, fear, obedience or to mark momentous occasions such as death, coming of age etc.

We are able to take a glimpse into this visually charged and creative world through the art of whit and narrative that Galembo uses to frame her subjects.

Dressing in costume has a magical quality to it. It becomes a second skin that can free the human spirit allowing you to assume or project another reality; a notion that goes beyond cultural borders. Upon discovering her work, I felt a random connected disconnectedness apparent with the works of contemporary Swiss artist Olaf Breuning, Design/Art duo Vibskov Emenius to Bernhard Willhelm and as far reaching as Japanese fashion label Comme des Garçons.


The Masquerade by Phyllis Galembo

The Masquerade by Phyllis Galembo

The Masquerade by Phyllis Galembo

The Masquerade by Phyllis Galembo

The Masquerade by Phyllis Galembo

The Masquerade by Phyllis Galembo





Galembo teaches photography at the University of Albany (1978 – Present).
She has published various books including: Dressed for Thrills, 100 Years of Halloween Costumes and Masquerade (2002), Vodou: Visions and Voices of Haiti (1998), Aso-ebi, Cloth of the Family (1997), Divine Inspiration from Benin to Bahai (1993) and Pale Pink (1982).

Her work is available through Steven Kasher Gallery.

Story source: Kindly recommended by London-based artist, Valentin.

[Images via Phyllis Galembo]

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  • Maggie

    oh.. excuuuuuse me. this is brilliant.

  • Another Africa

    This work left me speechless…

  • Kathleen

    Wow..Incredible..this is Amazing, I am so lost in awesomeness. I just came across your website (via Pop’Africana, it is indeed my new home! Thank you for doing this!

    • Missla Libsekal

      Phyllis Galembo’s work is incredible, she has given us a gift documenting this amazing world!
      Happy to hear that you are enjoying Another Africa, feel free to sign up for the newsletter… we are pretty new, so only one to date.

  • eve

    love love love

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