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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time of the Spirits, October 31, 2011
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This review is from: Phyllis Galembo: Maske (Hardcover)
Traditionally autumn in many countries celebrates All Hallows' Eve, a day that has become so commercial that it almost outdoes Christmas. But go to the source, the beginnings of this celebration, and there we find a connection with the spirits - those vague images that plead understanding or even cognizance.

Phyllis Galembo, likely more than any investigator artist, has spent considerable time seeking knowledge of the spirit rituals of both Africa and the Caribbean, places where people are more sensitive to the things they cannot explain but feel the need to placate or honor. This beautifully designed book features over one hundred highly color-saturated photographs of the costumes created and worn by the peoples of various cultures. Organized in chapters according to regional traditions and customs, Galembo has gained permission from the people to make these extraordinary photographs.

There is no sense of mocking or of inappropriate marketing of these costumed people: Galembo has been gathering these images for over 25 years and during that time she has become a confidant, an artist with the ability to transmit trust to the people she visits and coaxes into being photographed. The costumes are highly creative and richly colorful - for lack of a better comparison think Tim Burton or Federico Fellini or Julie Taymor - and incorporate the entire boy in the costume paraphernalia. The costumes, by chapter, are from Nigeria, Haiti, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Benin. The materials of the costumes vary form natural products, built from wood accents, body paint, richly colorful fabric - most anything available to create these otherworldly characters.

The title of the book is MASKE which would indicate that these are costumes for carnivals or masquerades, but Galembo lets us see more deeply into the origins of these costumes and form there we can postulate the meaning of each of the elements that make these costumes more than simply entertainment. These costumed people appear to honor something most of us have not even considered - gods of fertility, abundance, the dead, etc. From this book we can either find fascination with a way of thinking we know little - or we can approach this estimable photographs as the works of art they most assuredly are. Grady Harp, October 11
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing costumes, November 15, 2012
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This review is from: Phyllis Galembo: Maske (Hardcover)
Phyllis Galembo is to be celebrated for her superlative photos of African costumery, thereby showing us the fantastic, fabulous, imaginative genius of the people she photographs. I'm in awe of such creativity. I must say, though, that the book was a disappointment. Its production did not live up to its subject. The photos themselves are fine - although I did expect a somewhat larger format, but there is something flat & ordinary about the dust jacket; the white background, the lack-luster font, in fact the general design, but, more important to me, is the inconsistent photo display. Some pages have photos on each side, most have photos on one side, with a blank reverse side. Its unprofessional appearance cheapens the presentation and gives the impression that the publisher wanted to make the book thicker than (to my mind) it should rightfully be.
This is simply to forewarn, not to discourage, would-be buyers. The costumes are delightful, inventive, utterly wonderful. In spite of my somewhat serious quibbles with the production of the book, I'm still glad to have it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous portraits, May 30, 2011
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C. Smith (San Diego, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Phyllis Galembo: Maske (Hardcover)
What I like about these images is the way in which Galembo uses traditional West African Portraiture strategies to capture this insurgent, temporal and potent spirits. Gorgeous images of visual strategies that are so sophisticated as to blow contemporary Western Art way away. Fantastic. I only wish there was a little more scholarly text to accompany the images. And it would be cool if there were behind the scenes images that reveal the way in which Galembo got these images. It could not have been easy. What a privilege. Nice book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Key to imagination, November 10, 2011
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This review is from: Phyllis Galembo: Maske (Hardcover)
Great ideas come from great images. This book has something as I've never seen them though I've been to quite a few museums. The images are clear and speak for themselves. Had an imagination high just by flipping through the pages. Good way to submerge into a new world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT book of costume photos, March 15, 2014
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This review is from: Phyllis Galembo: Maske (Hardcover)
Arrived fast, not over packaged. So glad I bought this book; the costumes in it are inspiring and truly creative, made from all sorts of materials that one in our material western world might otherwise overlook. A very inspirational photo book for anyone interested in fashion, costumes and other cultures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Masquerade Costumes (Africa & Haiti), January 25, 2014
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This review is from: Phyllis Galembo: Maske (Hardcover)
Hardcover, Plain Card Boards with Photographic DJ, 9.5" x 9", 208 Pages, 94 full-page color photos of masquerade masks & costumes, (71 depictions from Africa and 23 from Haiti), 7 Pages of text. Introduction by Chika Okeke-Agulu Original pricing : 30 Pounds (UK), $45 (US) Published by Chris Boot, 2010.

From the back cover : " 'Maske' is an album of Phyllis Galembo's powerful and thrilling masquerade photographs from Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Zambia, and Haiti." And these portraits are indeed powerful and thrilling...Okay - It's true that the photographs are posed and static, and it's also true that there is too little in the way of descriptions of each costume, and...yes...the presentation is a little spare and unbalanced....BUT.....the images themselves are striking and visceral works of art. The photographs have a wonderful dreamlike quality, as if they were tribal art seen through the lens of David Lynch. The book features vibrant, beautifully lit mask and costume art, modeled by almost entirely anonymous people, captured in a photographic museum which appeals to the tribal art lover in me, but which I honestly believe will appeal to all lovers of art and photography.

Please see past the books faults to appreciate a simply wonderful book, which has immediately become one of my favorite portrayals of "Man As Art".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book - absolutely stunning!, June 5, 2013
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This review is from: Phyllis Galembo: Maske (Hardcover)
The photos are incredible and the stories that go with them are intriguing. Would highly recommend this book to anyone!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond beautiful, November 17, 2012
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This review is from: Phyllis Galembo: Maske (Hardcover)
These photos are mesmerizing. The book is a welcome addition to the documentation of mask and masquerade traditions. The only flaw is the lack of specifics about what each masks is evoking or attepting to represent. We are left only with mystery and wonder.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great books, March 1, 2014
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This review is from: Phyllis Galembo: Maske (Hardcover)
It is a great book that relates to the Klee book on puppets and is a must own book.
Don't muss it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Maske, February 1, 2014
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This review is from: Phyllis Galembo: Maske (Hardcover)
I received my book today and it is spectacular! I've traveled all over Africa yet some of these I've never seen. Just beautiful!
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Phyllis Galembo: Maske
Phyllis Galembo: Maske by Phyllis Galembo (Hardcover - September 30, 2010)
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