Face to face at the Israel Museum

Jerusalem, 27 March 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA). The exhibition “Face to Face: The Oldest Masks in the World” is being presented at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem until 11 September, displaying 9,000-year-old stone masks from Israel. The Israel Museum is showing twelve neolithic masks, considered to be amongst the oldest human portraits. The current hypothesis is that the masks formed part of religious ceremonies and other aspects of social life in the era, like healing practices and magic. The masks all feature various similarities: wide eyes and a hole acting as a mouth characterise these representations of faces. However, each mask has a different quality to it, allowing for a vision of the individual personalities of our ancestors. The objects were found in the Judean Mountains, close to the desert in the same region. The exhibition has been curated by Debby Hershman, and represents a decade of investigation on the...

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Fadia Haddad exhibits at Taiss Gallery

Paris, 5 October 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). From 11 October to 5 November, a set of works entitled “Dialogue des masques” will be displayed at Taiss Gallery in Paris. Birds, masks and totems, are some of the elements which characterize the work of Fadia Haddad, a Lebanese painter born in 1959. Masks are an especially recurring subject in her work, which also recall birds and flowers that seem to spring up in her drafts or paintings. The raw character of her work is remarkable and directly revives tribal art. In Haddad’s work there is a rhythmic and structured effect: she uses a thin acrylic brush and imprints a certain harshness to the painting or paper. The gesture of her work is also completed by the effects of the colours she uses – mostly dark – making reference to ash and ground. However, she also likes shades like indigo blue, pomegranate red and leaf green, which also make her compositions intense. The result: a raw, yet delicate work. Haddad meditates before she starts painting, as it allows her to create several paintings simultaneously. As a result, free lines and colours are created, coming from this intuitive...

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Precious mask from Benin at Sotheby’s

London, 21 December 2010. AMA. On 17 February 2011, Sotheby’s London will be selling an extremely rare ivory mask dating from the sixteenth century. The piece represents the head of the Queen Mother of the Edo people and is from the Kingdom of Benin in Nigeria. Five other precious objects from Benin will also be on offer. To date, only four other masks of such quality have been discovered and feature in the world’s most prestigious museums. The ivory masks are renowned for their quality, craftsmanship and importance in African art. Made for the Oba or King of Benin, these ivory masks attest to the Golden Age of the Kingdom of Benin. The mask has been estimated at three to five million. It has been shown to the public only twice: in 1947, during an exhibition at Berkeley Galleries in London entitled “Ancient Benin” and in 1951 at “Traditional Sculpture from the Colonies” at the Arts Gallery of the Imperial Institute in London. The mask and five other objects from Benin are being sold by the descendants of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Henry Lionel Galway, who was appointed deputy commissioner and vice-consul of the new established Oil Rivers Protectorate in 1891. He remained in Nigeria until 1902. The collection on sale includes an elephant tusk sculpted for the altar of an eighteenth-century Oba, two ivory bracelets sculpted in the style of the Igbesanmwan artists, the Royal Guild of ivory sculpors, and a remarkable twisted bronze sculpture that served as a tusk...

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