African Masks – Curator’s Conversation

April 17, 2020



In a joint collaboration between the Montserrat College of Art and the National Center for Afro-American Artists, students David Mshar ’20, Alexis Palmberg ’21, and Matthew Rahming ’23 teamed up with educator, artist, and curator Ari Montford to bring a selection of African Masks to campus. The exhibition encouraged conversations about art history, Eurocentrism, cultural appropriation, cultural exchange, and beyond. To discuss these topics we were joined by Alexis in Connecticut, international student Matthew Rahming in the Bahamas, and Ari Montford in Boston.

February 28–March 30, 2020
Bare Gallery

Co-curator Ari Montford writes:

“How can we define cultural appropriation as it pertains to our creative practice?

The works on view are from the collection of the National Center of Afro-American Artists (NCAAA) located in Boston, MA. As we move forward with discussions about inclusion and diversity at Montserrat, we need safe spaces for identifying ways of creating a cultural language of tolerance and belonging.

Therefore, the work is about a way of exploring a social construct of design ethics, to bring a clearer understanding or lens to the intersection of social ideas and programming, impacting how we come to see the African masks on exhibit. Furthermore, how do these works impact and inform our creative practice?”