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Masquerade, a Decade
© Phyllis Galembo
Egugun, Bohican, Benin

Phyllis Galembo »

Masquerade, a Decade

Exhibition: 23 May – 11 Jul 2009

Galerie Alex Daniels - Reflex Amsterdam

Weteringschans 83
1017 RZ Amsterdam

Reflex Amsterdam

Weteringschans 79
1017 RX Amsterdam

+31 20-6272832


Tue-Sat 10-18

Masquerade, a Decade
© Phyllis Galembo
Les Indians, Jacmel, Haiti

Phyllis Galembo
"Masquerade, a Decade"

We cordially invite you to the opening of the show on
Saturday, May 23 from 4 to 6 pm
The artist will be present

"haute nature - haute couture"

One of characteristics of the Western man is his fascination with primeval cultures. Since the voyagers in the 14th century up till now, five centuries later, the globe has been explored over and over again, by modernists like Picasso and Braque and ethnic fashion studies by Irving Penn, by contemporary mass tourism to exotic places, exposed on World Fairs and in popular magazines like National Geographic.
In the primitive man we admire all those things we have lost - or imagine to have lost - in our much too industrialized society: A life with the nature, simplicity, and a direct link to the supernatural. You would think that the army of explorers, photographers, cinematographers and anthropologists that have visited faraway nations by now would have combed out the exotic world, described, unraveled, mapped and recorded it entirely.
But this is not the case, as we can see in the oeuvre of American photographer Phyllis Galembo. She has an obsessive love for attires and garments which people from different parts of Africa are wearing during religious and profane celebrations and rites. Galembo: The link between these 2 continents is kept alive by stories of suppression and the Diaspora, and by their rituals, brought to a higher level by art.
Galembos images are disconcerting. The photographer abstains from every form of dÈcor or stylization, thus drawing the spectators eye directly towards the living statues. The natural extravagance of the dresses with their beads, shells, feathers and waste matter, evokes all sorts of involuntary associations with haute couture shows in Paris.
Her work is included in numerous public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library of Congress, Chazen Museum of Art, TANG Museum, New York Public Library, and the Polaroid Corporation.

A year ago Galerie Alex Daniels became acquainted with Galembos work, and we are proud to present her first solo show in Europe. At the opening of the exhibition a special limited edition consisting of a handmade box with two original colour photographs will be presented (limited edition of 60).

Masquerade, a Decade
© Phyllis Galembo
Ekpeyong Edet Dance Group, Calabar, Nigeria
Masquerade, a Decade
© Phyllis Galembo
Agot Dance Group, Etikpe Village, Cross River, Nigeria