“African Facelifts” is a series consisting of 11 photographic sculptures which analyse the paradoxes of African imagery today. All 11 masks were bought from street vendors in Namibia. Namibia is home to 11 ethnic groups, yet none of them use masks in their culture. Nonetheless these masks are sold to unknowing tourists who are looking for something typically “African”, regardless of its legitimacy and origin.
The series intersects traditional sculpture with collage work. It uses collected contemporary imagery from the Internet, to create a body of work which reflects an actual representation of African imagery as we find it today. These images were gathered on forums, joke websites and social media, they open up a world of a new and creative visual language in Africa which up till now has been neglected. These are real and authentic photos taken of Africans by Africans. They form their own contemporary identity and don’t let it be shaped by the west. The masks form the canvas which reflect the stereotypical view of tribal Africans by foreigners today.
The title juxtapozes numerous bodies of work all titled “Faces of Africa” which typically show the stereotypical African. These are the contemporary faces of Africa.