Apr 14 - Aug 11, 2024

Penetrating Expressions

Kifwebe Masks of the Songye and Luba People

Kifwebe Masks of the Songye and Luba People

Open today 10am - 5:00pm

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Around the world, masks are one of the most consistently communicative art forms. This is especially true of those made by the Songye and Luba people from Central Africa. Called Kifwebe, which simply means mask, these powerful, sculptural visages were worn only by male initiates of secret brotherhoods (called Bwadi bwa Kifwebe), which sought village harmony. For the Songye, this was achieved through a balance of good and evil forces, though for the Luba people all masks could be benevolent. In both cultures, the masks historically represented a powerful combination of human, animal, and spirit. This exhibition includes more than 30 full-size masks and 15 additional smaller masks from the Davy Family Collection, each one distinctive in design and in its penetrating, otherworldly expression.