Phyllis Galembo

11 November 2011

Phyllis Galembo’s interest in the masquerade traditions of Africa and its diaspora began twenty-five years ago, with her first visit to Nigeria. As a past Fulbright scholar, she has spent her career photographing the rituals and religious culture in Nigeria, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti, as well as the homegrown custom of Halloween in the United States. Making portraits that document and describe the transformative power of the mask. Her subjects are participants in masquerade events, both traditional ceremonies and contemporary fancy dress and carnival, all of whom use costume, body paint and masks to create mythic characters – sometimes entertaining and humorous, often dark and frightening, and always powerful and thrilling.

She has written several books, and exhibited throughout the world, including in solo shows at the International Center of Photography, New York, and the Smithsonian, Washington DC. Galembo is represented by Steven Kasher Gallery, New York, and is Professor of Photography at the State University of New York. She lives in New York City.

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