Creative Cultural Masks Turn Homes Into Museums

Creative cultural mask displays aren’t just for museums anymore. Visit almost any museum around the world and one of the first things you notice is a ‘pattern’ to the items displayed. Curators know how to place artwork in such a way as to evoke a specific reaction or emotion from museum visitors. We can do the exact same thing in our homes with a little help from NOVICA.  Try your hand at being a ‘home curator’ utilizing many of the cultural masks NOVICA artisans have created. It’s fun, educational and will no doubt create a lively conversation topic inside your home!

Hand Beaded Nigerian Wood Mask, 'My Beautiful Woman' NOVICA Fair trade wall art

Here are three easy tips for building a stunning display that adds culture, history and mythology to your living space.

First, decide which area you plan to utilize. However large or small your ‘canvas’ may be will determine which masks you choose and how many. For example, in my home, I chose to make a small foyer and seating area into a display nook for NOVICA African masks from artist Abdul Aziz Mohamadu. The area I worked with is compact but offered a creative outlet, with two adjoining walls and a small table. I chose a base stand mask as the starting point, which gives anyone seated an eye-level view of a beautifully crafted and brightly colored mask. Glance upward in either direction and two more masks adorn the walls. I decided to group the masks from Mohamadu into a theme based on color schemes. You can do something similar selecting colors, shapes, or region of the world as a starting point to group masks that speak to you. As a novice ‘home curator’ it is satisfying to know that in just a few moments, anyone who passes through my foyer is exposed to international art and a cultural experience, courtesy of NOVICA.

Second, explore cultural mythology with the use or meaning of masks. Some are meant to ward off evil spirits and protect the good. Others represent celebrations of good crops or times of peace. In many cultures masks represent spirits of animals or mythological heroes.

Lion Barong Mask Hand Carved Wood Wall Art Indonesian Balinese Original NOVICA Fair Trade

In some instances, masks signify the ideal image of feminine beauty. As they say, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ So let yourself be the ‘beholder’ and choose masks which speak to you!

A grouping of masks representing animals could tell the story of honor, strength, war or peace. Take it one step further and identify a color you like and use a portion of a wall as your backdrop to mount a patterned collection of animal masks like the hand carved African mask from Liberia’s Dan Tribe, ‘Dan Dark Spirit.’ It is said to help hunters seeking game. In need of boosting your bravery and strength? The Ashanti wood mask, ‘Brave Buffalo’ can help do just that and adds to the symbolism-themed collection. Keep in mind, you can also determine your mask groupings based on materials, such as leather, wood or ceramic. Copper and bronze are used to create the handmade ‘Moche Octopus’ mask from Peru.  Your choices are as limitless as your imagination.

Handmade Bronze and Copper Mask, 'Moche Octopus' Fair Trade Wall Art Original Peruvian

And finally; is wall space limited? It’s not an issue. Many cultural masks are designed as stand-alone pieces, such as the Ivoirian wood African mask, ‘Dan Ghost’ straight from Ghana. A piece such as this could fit easily atop of a fireplace mantel, a bookcase, a night stand or even the tops of kitchen shelves.

Dan Ghost Mask Hand Carved with Stand Original Art NOVICA West Africa

Choose several more from the free-standing category and allow yourself to go to the other side of the world. The hand painted modern Balinese mask and stand, ‘Queen of Elephants’ is a perfect example.

Hand Painted Modern Balinese Mask and Stand, 'Queen of Elephants' Indonesian Wall Art Carved and Painted Original NOVICA Fair Trade

Just like that, home décor matches a top level museum!  So allow your imagination to roam free, be creative and let the museum curator in you run wild!

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