The tradition of masquerade is prevalent in many different African cultures, however, my masks were inspired by the contemporary masquerades of the Igbo people of Nigeria. Traditionally, a man wears a mask and becomes the embodiment of a spirit. I didn’t grow up experiencing masquerade first hand, although my dad would often show me the dances. I was more interested in their aesthetic value and how they are typically made collaboratively by the community.
I made the masks during my stay at 16/16, a residency and art space in Lagos (Nigeria). They were an adornment to accompany garments designed by Bubu Ogisi for the IAMISIGO
presentation at Lagos Fashion Week in 2018. After they were worn by the models, I released them into the world. I let friends walk around the streets of Lagos in them and watched their reactions. A dancer performed in them. It was interesting to see all the ways the masks could exist. In this way, a mask becomes a portal, an escape.