Man­grove be­hind the mask

Pasatiempo - - Mixed Media -

The Em­bera live in the rain for­est of Darien on Panama’s south­west Pa­cific coast, a re­mote re­gion made up of small vil­lages con­nected through an in­tri­cate sys­tem of man­groves and rivers. The tribal peo­ple are known for their dyed palm-fiber masks, of­ten cre­ated in the shape of jun­gle birds. Tra­di­tion­ally, the masks were used in re­li­gious cer­e­monies to es­tab­lish bonds with an­i­mal spir­its. While some of this tra­di­tional use con­tin­ues, there has been a re­newed in­ter­est in mask cre­ation along with in­creased eco-tourism to the re­gion.

These fas­ci­nat­ing masks are the sub­ject of Em­bera Masks of Panama, a new ex­hibit that opens with a re­cep­tion at 5:30 p.m. Tues­day, July 6, at the Trav­eler’s Mar­ket in the DeVargas Cen­ter, 153-B Paseo de Per­alta. That same night, the mar­ket will fea­ture two lec­tures, a 6 p.m. pre­sen­ta­tion by cu­ra­tor Car­rie Ha­ley on “Doc­u­ment­ing Your Col­lec­tion” and a 6:30 p.m. talk by Shamlu Dudeja on the “Kan­tha Em­broi­dery of In­dia.” The ex­hibit runs through Aug. 1. For more in­for­ma­tion or reser­va­tions, call 989-7667.

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