Watch 'The mask is looking at us' performance by Sharon Pérez

Photo by Annie Simpkins


On Tuesday, May 17th, Afro-Bolivian artist Sharon Pérez performed 'The mask is looking at us' in the Great Court at the British Museum. Watch here an extract and her explanation about the artistic exercise.


Sharon Pérez about ‘The mask is looking at us’ performance

“This artistic exercise or ‘performance’ focuses on what it means to touch another body, use it as a canvas and to understand it from otherness. In this case it was very important the interaction with a European body on which iconographies of a Bolivian mask were sketched.

What is a mask?

This project has focused on the morenada masks from Bolivia and their relationship to Afro-Bolivian culture and identity. During these two months, a lot of ideas, exercises, analyses, and sketches have emerged about what it really means to wear a mask. This is one of the exercises that is part of the works developed during the residency. For this reason the model was wearing a morenada mask and I was also initially wearing a morenada mask. Then, once I removed the mask my face painted. Finally, I wore a mask of my own face.

Constantly playing with those filters, those veilings.

The drawings made on the model’s back are sketches of how I saw the mask worn by him that were reflected in the mirror. I focused on a particular part of the mask in each sketch. I also wrote on the mirror some phrases from the interviews I did in the past months with members from the Yungas communities along with some notes I took during those visits.

I think this is what is interesting about this experiment, taking bodies to other spaces and reflecting on the meaning of the body wearing the mask. To play with the idea of being ‘other’, of representing the ‘other.’”


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