Congo Masks: Masterpieces from Central Africa

10 November 2018–24 February 2019

Exhibition Overview


Face Mask with Feathered Collar, second quarter of the 20th century, Nyindu culture (Democratic Republic of the Congo), wood, pigment, rooster feathers, 15.3 in. high. Private Collection.

This innovative and visually compelling exhibition presents nearly 140 masks from the vast Congo region of Africa (known today as the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Drawn from the finest and most comprehensive private collection, these masks from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries are combined with film footage, field photographs, maps and musical instruments to highlight the performative aspect of these extraordinary works of art. Congo Masks: Masterpieces from Central Africa is organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Congo Basin Art History Research Center in Brussels, Belgium. Presented by Dominion Energy. The exhibition program at VMFA is supported by the Julia Louise Reynolds Fund.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Louis.)

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