Phyllis Galembo's photographs of the astounding mask cultures of Mexico

Chinelo with Wire Mesh Mask, Chilapa, 2016 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Since 1985, acclaimed photographer Phyllis Galembo has travelled extensively to document sites of ritual dress in Africa and the Caribbean. In her latest body of work, she has turned her lens to Mexico and its astounding mask cultures.

Brought together in a new book, Phyllis Galembo: Mexico, Masks & Rituals, the fascinating survey captures cultural performances with a subterranean political edge. Using her direct, unaffected portrait style, Galembo shoots her subjects informally posed but often strikingly attired in traditional or ritualistic dress.

Through these vibrant colour photographs, she highlights the artistry of the performers, how they use materials from their immediate environment to morph into a fantastical representation of themselves and an idealised vision of a mythical figure.

In a gorgeous, fascinating photographic survey of Mexico’s masking practices, Galembo captures her subjects suspended between past, present and future, with their religious, political and cultural affiliations—their personal and collective identifications—displayed on their bodies.

Phyllis Galembo: Mexico, Masks & Rituals is co-published by Radius Books/D.A.P and is available via artbook.com. To find out more about Phyllis Galembo, visit her website at www.galembo.com.

Cúrpites, San Lorenzo Nareni, 2017 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Cúrpites, San Lorenzo Nareni, 2017 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Catrina, Axtla Jacaraondosos Group, All Saints’ Day, 2016 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Catrina, Axtla Jacaraondosos Group, All Saints’ Day, 2016 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Angel with Charrasca – Equine Jawbone Instrument, Mochitlán  2017 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Angel with Charrasca – Equine Jawbone Instrument, Mochitlán 2017 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Family in Maguey Masks, 2016 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Family in Maguey Masks, 2016 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Deer and Bull, Semana Santa, 2012 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Deer and Bull, Semana Santa, 2012 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Sweeper with Michael Jackson Mask, 2016 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Sweeper with Michael Jackson Mask, 2016 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Los Americanos, 2012 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Los Americanos, 2012 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Reyna _ Queen of the Santiagos, 2017 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Reyna _ Queen of the Santiagos, 2017 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Guapo del Paraje _ Handsome One, 2017 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals

Guapo del Paraje _ Handsome One, 2017 © Phyllis Galembo: Mexico Masks & Rituals