Since the 1980s, American photographer Phyllis Galembo has continuously traveled to sites of ritual masquerade in Africa and the Americas, capturing cultural performances with a political edge.
For her latest body of work, Galembo turns to Mexico. Recently published by Radius Books/D.A.P., the portraits in Mexico, Masks and Rituals call attention to the striking traditional and ritualistic dress of Galembo’s subjects.
Masking is a complex, mysterious and profound tradition in which the participants transcend the physical world and enter the spiritual realm. Masks, costumes and body paint transform the human body and encode a rich range of political, artistic, theatrical, social and religious symbolism and commentary on the body.
“In her vibrant color photographs, Galembo highlights the artistry of the performers, how they use materials from their immediate environment to morph into a fantastical representation of themselves and an idealized vision of a mythical figure,” states the press release. By displaying their personal and collective identifications –– rooted in cultural and political affiliations –– on their bodies, the performers establish connections between the past, present and future.