Revelers to go behind the mask in exhibit
Published: Friday, January 27, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 11:55 p.m.
Masked party-goers in the Thomas Center on Saturday will enjoy Cajun-style food, live jazz, swing music and door prizes in celebration of "The Mask: Tradition and Transformation," an exhibit on display there through Feb. 5.
The party, called Mardi Gras Masquerade, will start at 7 p.m.
Organizers will formally introduce the exhibit to the public and welcome participants to the start of a lecture symposium and colloquium.
The exhibit and related activities are free and open to the public.
Erin Friedberg, visual arts coordinator for the City of Gainesville's Division of Cultural Affairs and Mary Watt, co-director for the University of Florida's Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, curated the exhibit.
Cathy DeWitt and MoonDancer will provide the music for Saturday's event, and the food will be from Harry's Seafood Bar and Grille. Organizers invite participants to wear masks and dress up in Mardi gras costumes to be a part of the exhibit's theme for the night, Friedberg said.
The exhibit features about 30 masks from several countries, including Japan, Haiti, Puerto Rico and Bolivia.
"All of the masks have a very specific contribution, because each mask has a sincere meaning to it and really conveys personal transformation," Friedberg said.
The colloquium's main event, called Carnevale Colloquium, will run from 1:30 to 6 p.m. MondayJan 30 in the Thomas Center.
The keynote speaker is Ronald Herzman, an English professor at the State University of New York College at Geneseo and author of "The Medieval World View."
He's an expert in the role of masks in different cultures, Friedberg said.
UF professors also will give talks on topics like the origins of the carnival mask and the role of masks in the western chivalric tradition.
The last event will run from 9 to 11:30 a.m. TuesdayJan 31 at UF in 219 Dauer Hall with coffee and a roundtable discussion with UF professors and graduate students.
"People who have visited the exhibit have been fascinated and impressed," Watt said. "It has been very well-received."
The masks are on loan from several collections, and 80 percent of the masks come from the collection of Louis and Elizabeth Guillette, both UF professors, Friedberg said.
The Guillettes have collected their masks during their travels around the world.
The exhibit doesn't just feature masks worn on the face. One item on display is a Gator helmet and football uniform from the UF Athletic Association.
"Masks aren't necessarily just the masks you put on your face, but the entire thing you wear at that moment that transforms you," Watt said. "In Italy, masques are not only masks worn on the face, but rather entire theatrical characters."
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