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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rogue Masks: Visualizing Multidisciplinary Studies

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

In April 2022 Sheku “Goldenfinger” Fofanah, an exceedingly talented artist largely unrecognized outside Sierra Leone, created one Ordehlay and two Fairy masquerade ensembles for a major international traveling exhibition currently titled New Masks Now: Artists Innovating Masquerade in Contemporary West Africa. Emerging from previous dissertation research, the planning of this exhibition project, and my training in visual studies, this essay explores Fofanah’s vibrant, multicultural urban masquerades as a parallel of my own scholarly journey toward the discipline of visual studies, and the necessity of resisting overdetermined paths and dichotomous categorizations to approach, research, understand, and present/contextualize African masquerade arts. Like my own pedagogical journey, Ordehlay is not linear, nor does it stay in any one lane. Such a rogue mask calls for a rogue discipline.

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