Art professor Lisa Homann co-curating international exhibition of West African masquerade artists

Associate Professor of Art History Lisa Homann is a key member of a team developing the internationally traveling exhibition “New Masks Now: Artists Innovating Masquerade in Contemporary West Africa.” The exhibition is organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art and supported by a $500,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The 2023-27 NEH grant provides $400,000 to the New Orleans Museum of Art to support the implementation of the exhibition and publication and an additional $100,000 for a two-year public humanities position to create associated public programs. Earlier this month, NOMA announced that Simeneh Gebremariam would serve in that role.

lisa homannHomann serves as co-curator of the traveling exhibition as well as co-editor and co-author of its accompanying publication. Aimé Kantoussan, research director at the Musée des Civilisations Noires/Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar, Senegal, and Hervé Youmbi, a leading contemporary artist in Cameroon, are research collaborators and contributing authors.

“New Masks Now: Artists Innovating Masquerade in Contemporary West Africa” will highlight the voices and perspectives of four contemporary West African artists working with the medium of masquerade: Hervé Youmbi of Cameroon, Chief Ekpenyong Bassey Nsa of Nigeria, David Sanou of Burkina Faso and Sheku Fofanah of Sierra Leone.

Homann, a specialist in West African masquerade practices from the late 19th century to the present, said the “New Masks Now” exhibition has among its goals to demonstrate that masquerade is a vibrant and innovative contemporary performance art and to amplify the voices of artists and diaspora communities by highlighting the careers and perspectives of the four featured masquerade artists.

Her scholarship has focused on Burkina Faso for nearly two decades. She first traveled there in 2006 and in the years since has developed deep and longstanding relationships with artists, dancers, blacksmiths, griots (musicians), patrons, chiefs and boosters of masquerade in the region.

Read more on the College of Arts + Architecture website.