Mascarade portrait by Phyllis Galembo

Phyllis Galembo is a photographer based in New-York and she’s a professor in the Fine Arts Department of SUNY Albany since 1978. She has spent the past twenty-five years photographing rituals and religious culture in Africa, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti and Mexico. Masking is a complex, mysterious and profound tradition in which the participants transcend the physical world and enter the spiritual realm. In her vibrant images, Galembo exposes an ornate code of political, artistic, theatrical, social, and religious symbolism and commentary. Attuned to a moment’s collision of past, present and future, Galembo finds the timeless elegance and dignity of her subjects. Galembo’s portraiture illuminates the transformative power of costume and ritual.

Galembo’s photographs are included in numerous public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Public Library.

Creek Town Youth Group, Ekpo Masquerade, Calabar, Nigeria, 2005 Ilfochrome
Chaloskas, Jacmel, Haiti 2009
Ekpokang Masquerade, Calabar South, Nigeria, 2004. An initiation ceremony. Ilfochrome, printed 2008
Chief Oadume Uwabidie of Issele-Uku, Nigeria, 1994
Yaie Masquerade, Bansie Village, Burkina Faso, 2006, Ilfochrome
Atam Masquerader, Alok Village, Nigeria, 2004, Ilfochrome
Gelede Masquerade, Agonli Village, Benin, 2006, Ilfochrome
Ringo (Big Deer) Masquerade Kroo Bay, Sierra Leone 2008


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