Visions of Africa
Zoe S. Strother
Although many societies in the Congo were once renowned for vibrant masquerades and arhitectural sculpture, these phenomena have only been studied as living traditions among a handful of peoples, most notably the Pende. Building on the extended fieldwork of numerous researchers sinche the 1950s, this text offers a unique window into the dynamic performance contexts of both masquerade and architecture in Central Africa. As much as possible, it privileges Pende voices and seeks to understand the interrelationship between ritual practice and aesthetic form. Attentive to history, the text also shows these artistic practices have responded (sometimes unpredictably) to both colonial and post-colonial pressure. Lavish illustrations feature both iconic and hitherto to unpublished masterworks, which have been selected to evoke the full range of Pende expression.
Zoe S. Strother is Associate Professor of African Art at Columbia University in New York. She studied History of Art at Yale University, where she earned a Ph.D. in 1992. Her research is based on 32 months of work in eastern Pende and Central Pende. She has written extensively on Pende including Inventing Masks: Agency and History in the Art of the Central Pende which received the “Arnold Rubin Outstanding Publication Award. “