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Musical Instrument Museum Hosts First Ever Exhibit Showcasing Congolese Masks, Instruments

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Friday, May 14, 2021 - 11:20am
Updated: Monday, May 17, 2021 - 10:48am

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congo masks at the musical instrument museum
Musical Instrument Museum
“Congo Masks and Music: Masterpieces from Central Africa” will be on display at the Musical Instrument Museum through the fall.

We’ve all been talking a lot about wearing masks these days to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, a different type of mask is taking center stage: Congolese masks.

They’re part of the Central African tradition of masquerades in which masked characters come to life to educate, entertain and connect people with the spirit world.

The exhibition features more than 160 objects — and about a third of them are musical instruments. And that makes it the first of its kind — this is the first time there’s ever been an exhibition matching masks from Africa with the musical instruments that are played during these masquerades.

The Show got a tour of the exhibit with MIM deputy director, chief curator and Africanist Manuel Jordán. 

Congo Masks and Music: Masterpieces from Central Africa” will be on display there through Sept. 12.

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