African Masks


African masks are possibly the most admired and well known art form of Africa.

Black mask with carved lines 2000pix

They are both idea and form. The artistry of African masks is self evident but, for the people who create them, they have a much deeper meaning than surface beauty.

In general, the mask form is a physical mechanism to initiate transformation whereby the wearer takes on a new entity, allowing him to have influence on the spirits to whom he is appealing to or offering thanks. 

The Western viewer is often caught off guard by the emotions that a mask can evoke. Our intrigue can quickly be transformed to a powerful connection not often experienced in our frequently disassociated worlds.

They therefore yield some notion of power which the viewer can be attracted to or repelled by. This too is despite the fact that often the viewer is studying the mask out of context and without its accompanying costume or props. Something mystical is transferred by the nature of its function.

The traditional African mask is worn during celebrations, dances and festivities and ritual ceremonies commemorating social and religious events. They play a very significant spiritual and functional role in the community and often there is no distinction between social recreation and ritual celebration.

African Masks in our Gallery

Nwabisa African Art appreciates the beauty and meaning of African Masks. It is our aim to share this beauty with you through a collection of African Masks. The masks we offer you are works of art and not traditional masks used by African tribes. The reason for this being multiple. For one, we do not wish to infringe on or disrespect any African tribe, people or culture. We are also very aware that some masks may be very powerful in their expression. The aim of Nwabisa is to “Bring Happiness” and that is why the choice is to bring you pieces of art and not tribal masks.

From that perspective we are happy to share with you the masks we currently have to offer.

One of the styles is using Palm Frond to create beautiful Masks. In this way we have two styles for you:

  1. Tradition looking masks with African faces
  2. More modern style masks with bright colours and fashionable faces
The other style we currently have is a Clay mask on a smaller than life size on a wooden background with acrylic cover in front
We hope you enjoy these masks, we will be adding more in future…

Palm Frond Masks

Nduna Palm Frond mask by Bob Bobzin Mnisi

Decorative Clay Masks

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