Masks from Around the World: A Personal Collection

 
9781894694452: Masks from Around the World: A Personal Collection
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In diversity, connectedness. This is the surprising thread that emerges when admiring art around the world. Take Masks—in all their raw and exuberant beauty. Art enthusiast Garth Dahl has collected masks on his travels to other countries, attracted first by the beautiful designs and later by the fascinating mythology and cultural history behind the faces. In Masks, Dahl presents 74 works from his personal collection, introducing their geographic origins, cultural history and underlying mythology. The vivid colour photographs are by Alistair Eagle.

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From the Inside Flap:

Masks From Around the World presents a fascinating array of pictures of masks, with a background of anecdotes, vignettes, ceremonies and setting that gives a sense of the connectedness of world cultures, history and human imagination. The book covers every corner of the globe: Africa to Europe, Latin America to the Pacific Rim. Substances used in making these intriguing impressions include wood, clay, animal skins and precious stones.This book is also striking in its representation of the landscape of masks, that is, the forests that house the raw materials for the masks, and their animals, vegetation and trees. Just as the masks invoke cultural and historical sagas, the enchanting plants and flowers tell their own stories and enlarge the meaning of the masks.Some masks hang loose from their original context—still we are captivated by their beauty and thrilled by their magic.Many masks tell of ancient civilizations, peoples and customs. They tell of crosscultural and intercontinental migrations and connections. Some are journeyers themselves.“Two-Headed Swordsman” travelled from a remote village in Zambia to South Africa and Cuba before making it to Canada.The author gives us a more personal appreciation of the masks by incorporating the voice of an artist at work, as well as his personal experience of a First Nations ceremony. There are pictures of the mask carver Reg Davidson with his chisels, and interviews that explain the carving process. The artist talks about how the artistic spirit directs the process of carving and mask animation, so that we understand his information that “a mask comes alive when I use it in dance.” . . . The End of Mourning ceremony is part of a larger program of events around the passage of deceased relations to the spirit realm. Mask, human, spirit, colour and ceremony come together in the natural Pacific Northwest background. Ocean sand, water, air and fire assume new significance in the ceremony that fills the author with awe, emotion and a deep sense of bonding. He believes that “memories of such moments last a lifetime.” If you want more appreciation of the pieces that you see in museums and art galleries, this book is for you. If you are a student of anthropology, religion or art history wanting to have a general sense of world cultures without the usual academic hassle, this is your book. If you are curious about the grotesque, the sublime and the magical, this book gives you that sense of wonder and discovery. When you go through the pages it is as if you are walking through a haunting gallery of art, history and mythology.The plus point of this book is Garth Dahl's approach: the viewpoint of a tourist who shares his joy, awe, fun and fascination with masks.— Chinyere G. Okafor, PhD Professor of English and Women's Studies, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas, USA Terrible Beauty of Masks From Around the World|Garth Dahl bought his first mask in Costa Rica in 1989 as a travel souvenir, and this book details his discoveries in mask buying that followed. Beautiful photographs bring out the visual energy of the masks that he assembled over 15 years, on five continents. Dahl shares valuable practical advice with beginners who might wish to collect masks themselves—in other countries, in Canada and on the Internet. The author's interview with noted West Coast carver Reg Davidson reveals how a mask maker expresses culture through masks, and leads to Dahl witnessing a highly significant event in the history of the Haida nation of British Columbia.

From the Back Cover:

A young calf that has a serious tooting problem; A cow that thinks he's lactose intolerant; A secret food stash hidden from the other barn yard animals; A rival, seeking the admiration of a female cow named Mona; these are just a few of the many plots and adventures that are played out in Dr. Garth Dahl’s latest children’s book “Gassy The Cow”

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