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Ritual, Disguise, or Protection? -- ‘Looking Back at You' Explores Masks By Artists

March 31, 2015

(Charlottetown, P.E.I.) - The Confederation Centre Art Gallery has opened a new exhibition in the Upper West Gallery that displays a wide variety of masks made by artists. Featuring 14 artists and work from the Gallery's permanent collection, Looking Back at You: Masks By Artists examines what Gallery Curator, Pan Wendt calls "a device of ritual, disguise, or protection, where the truths and falsehoods of identity are sorted out."
Artists have, over the past century, embraced the mask's shifting power - in the famous case of Pablo Picasso, African masks ‘inspired' the direct, raw, address of the Demoiselles d'Avignon. The mask also became a kind of totem for the modern artist's exploration of identity. More recently, a number of artists of First Nations descent have revisited the mask as a hybrid object or artifact filled with a history of Primitivist appropriations as well as actual ritual functions.

Focusing on a diverse array of functions where artists make use of the mask, the exhibition features the work of artists from across Canada, employing various mediums. These include Brian Jungen, Francis Coutellier, Diana Thorneycroft, Dan Starling, Patrick Lundeen, and David Neel, as well as work by Murray Laufer, who is a practicing artist as well as the original set designer for The Charlottetown Festival's Anne of Green Gables-The MusicalTM, and P.E.I.'s own Becka Viau.

Looking Back at You: Masks by Artists is on display until September 21, 2015 at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. The Gallery hours until May 11 are Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 pm, Sunday 1-5 p.m., and closed on Monday and Tuesday. For more information, please visit


Masks.jpg Laufer detail.jpg

Photo # 1: David Neel's Ridicule Mask -- a part of the new exhibition Looking Back at You: Masks By Artists now showing at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (David Neel, Ridicule Mask, 1991, carved and painted cedar mask with cedar bark ornament, Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa: Gift of Victoria Henry, 1995.)

Media requests:
Fraser McCallum, Communications Manager, Confederation Centre of the Arts
T: 902.628.6135 (office)
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