Phyllis Galembo: Mexico, Masks & Rituals



ISBN: 9781942185574 Category:


A showcase of Phyllis Galembo’s extraordinary photographs of the costume, ritual and traditions of masquerade Mexico

Phyllis Galembo has travelled all over the globe to sites of ritual masquerade. In Africa, the Caribbean, and now Mexico, she captures cultural performances with a subterranean political edge. Using a direct, unaffected portrait style, Galembo captures her subjects informally posed but often strikingly attired in traditional or ritualistic dress. Attuned to a moment’s collision of past, present and future, Galembo finds the timeless elegance and dignity of her subjects.

Masking is a complex, mysterious, and profound tradition in which the participants transcend the physical world and enter the spiritual realm. In her vibrant images, Galembo exposes an ornate code of political, artistic, theatrical, social and religious symbolism and commentary. Galembo highlights the creativity of the individuals morphing into a fantastical representation of themselves, having cobbled together materials gathered from the immediate environment to idealize their vision of mythical figures. While still pronounced in their personal identity, the subject’s intentions are rooted in the larger dynamics of religious, political and cultural affiliation. Establishing these connections is a hallmark of Galembo’s work.

Additional information

Weight 1586 g
Dimensions 23.7 x 26.6 cm
Publisher name Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.
Publication date 1 June 2019
Number of pages 196
Format Hardback
Contributors Photographs by Phyllis Galembo, Text by Victor M. Espinosa and George Otis
Dimensions 23.7 x 26.6 cm
Weight 1586 g


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Phyllis Galembo received her MFA from University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1977, and was a professor in the Fine Arts Department of SUNY Albany from 1978 to 2018. Galembo's photographs are included in numerous public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Public Library; she was a Guggenheim fellow in 2014, and also received a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts. She lives in New York City.