German artist Marion Boehm, represented by OOA (Barcelona, Spain), invited 1-54 to her studio in Frankfurt, Germany.
My characters are holding masks. But in fact, it may be the masks offering hold and orientation in a globalized world coming along with a rising feeling of uncertainty and being uprooted.
For defining the identity of an individual not only the own biography is relevant, but also the socio-cultural environment and groups we relate to like being a woman, a mother, German, European, African, artist…
I have always been attracted by the beauty and diversity of African masks. I would appreciate to have such vibrant symbols in the culture I have been growing up with to also be able to connect with memories and stories of my family and ancestors. These masks are much more than masquerades. They are used to offer orientation in times of change and disclose different periods of transformation and transition. For example, used in initiation rites, weddings or funerals masks are an important indispensable part of a ceremony.
How about nowadays? How does the young African generation see these symbols? Are they still relevant in today’s life? Where do we come from? Who are we? Which values do we have and what’s our vision for the future?
In my series “Legacy” I want to point out that the emerging African continent has a rich cultural background to build on. I use African masks in my work to relate to the beauty and spiritual power of them in the context of a culturally impoverished and spiritually distressed modern world. But do they still have their original meaning? What do they represent to the generation of today? Can they be a point of reference and still offer a kind of orientation? What do the traditions mean for today’s life and what do they teach us for the future?