Francine In Retirement
Seeing Life Through Photography





I found the above mask/banner hanging in a church lobby and it struck me as very interesting.  I don’t have any information on it, such as artist or meaning.  I know it’s of African-American origins because of the Kente cloth used and the facial features of the mask.

The colors of the beads hanging from the head (red, black and green) are the colors of the African-American flag.  The  “color of the blood which men must shed for their redemption and liberty”, black for “the color of the noble and distinguished race to which African-American belong,” and green for “the luxuriant vegetation of our Motherland.”

The image is also made of wood, bronze, brass and copper.  Material often used in African masks.  The wire springs on the head, to me, emulates the natural hair style of most African-Americans.  Because many African-American people have hair that is thick with tighter and smaller curls than people of other races, unique hair styles have developed.  In addition to this, many black hairstyles have historical connections to African culture.  Today we find all kinds of hair styles on African-American individuals.

When we view most art hung in art galleries, museums and homes, we often give our own interpretation of it.  We sit, walk around or stand studying the piece of art from all angles and then come up with our own ideas.  I think this piece represent “Unity Among Cultures” in a religious community.



10 Responses to “AFRICAN-AMERICAN ART”

  1. I think you have identified the meaning of this piece very well. As with all art it really is in the eye and education of the beholder. By see the colours and knowing their meaning you are half way there – the rest is emotion. Wonderful piece with so much body and soul.

  2. Beautiful mask. One of those images that stays with you long after you first see it.

  3. Francine its wonderful thanks so much for sharing. It definitely has Ghanaian influences, as well as the Kente cloth the circular crest reminds me of the fertility dolls they make. I love yor words about African American hair – I have it too! A really interesting post and its great that the mask is on display in a church.

  4. A beautiful mask, Francine, and even though you’ve photographed it well, it must be very impressive to see in person.

  5. A stunning and unique piece of art Francine! Love the exaggerated features 🙂

  6. Unity among Cultures–I have to agree!

  7. It is unusual. Reminds me of some Mayan sun faces.

  8. I love the sculpture. It is very organic. The tendrils of wire creating hair are a perfect match to my hair. I collect masks that have wild hair. The artist would have been one on my list to go and see. Great find, Francine.

  9. […] African-american Art ( […]

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