A Cardiff Metropolitan University lecturer has been showcasing a collection of masks and collages at Cardiff M.A.D.E this month, a project inspired by a visit to South America, Berlin and the Rhondda Valleys.
Dr James Green, Lecturer in Fine Art at Cardiff Met was recently awarded a Santander funded research trip to South America, where he gave two lectures on masks and magical objects at Universidad de Santiago de Chile, and did research on Easter Island and in Quito, Ecuador.
James' research enhanced the content of a second year field project he coordinated back at Cardiff Met, entitled 'Magical Objects: Masks and Reliquaries of the World.'
The project explored how early humans may have used masks for magical purposes, how artists used masks to reinvent Western art traditions, and how masks are used in contemporary world culture.
Students have been tasked with making their own masks based on observation of masks from a range of countries and adding a personal element to make their designs bespoke to them.
Speaking about the project, James said: "The whole experience has been an adventure, and my research in Berlin, Chile and Ecuador gave the lectures and workshops an authenticity that really enthused those who undertook the Magical Objects project.
"The students responded excellently; they had authentic masks from around the world to draw knowledge from, and created some excellent pieces that may one day end up in the Pitt Rivers museum."
James' current collection at Cardiff M.A.D.E. features a collection of new masks that combine different visual cultures and knowledge from around the world, and a series of collages that he has been working on for the past decade, numbering over 5000.
James has recently secured further Santander funding to travel to the University of Guadalajara in Mexico this summer, as well as other ancient sites, to study mask making for next year's Magical Objects project.