New Exhibition of African Masks Opens at Parkway Central

By Michelle S. RSS Wed, January 5, 2011

The Free Library of Philadelphia is pleased to present More Than a Pretty Face, an annotated exhibition of unique African masks from the collection of Mary Sue and Paul Peter Rosen, M.D. This exhibition displays more than 100 dramatic masks from 40 West and Central African peoples, including rare, colorful examples of Temne Ode-lay and Jolly Society headdress masks from Sierra Leone and Ibibio Mami Wata face masks from Nigeria.

Masquerades have played a crucial role in the social, cultural, and political life of African peoples for centuries, and the African masker is said to be imbued with spiritual forces that transcend the individual’s everyday existence. More Than a Pretty Face illustrates the great diversity of this tradition with the many unique masks—accompanied by detailed descriptions—on display.

The exhibition runs through Friday, February 25, and is located in the West Gallery on the first floor of the Parkway Central Library.

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