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Behind the mask

With his latest show ‘Mask UN Mask’, artist Querozito de Souza continues his fascination with the various masks that humans put on, finds NT BUZZ


Over the span of his three decade long art career, Querozito de Souza has always been intrigued by masks and human beings.

“We are always trying to show ourselves as something different from what we truly are. If a man has a female quality for instance, he will try to hide this and act more macho. If we have an animal quality we try to suppress this. The idea of the mask came from this,” says the artist, who graduated from Goa College of Art in 1982 and later did his Masters in Fine Art from Shantiniketan in 1991. He has since exhibited in solo and group shows across Delhi, Goa, Mumbai and other Indian cities. His works have also been included in international exhibitions in Brazil, Bulgaria, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and Taiwan.

Speaking further on his initiation into the concept of masks, de Souza says that he first began by working on a series themed around life as a drama. “It revolved around the idea that people were acting all the time and were not themselves,” he says. Delving further into this idea, de Souza began reading up on psychoanalyst Carl Jung who had written about anima and animus which represents the unconscious feminine psychological qualities that a man possesses and the masculine ones possessed by a woman, respectively. De Souza went on to do a series of works on this philosophy. He then moved on to mythology where again there are tales of how a man transforms into a woman, or into an animal either to seduce a woman or be more aggressive. He moved on to looking at how we are constructing the bodies again with various implements. He then returned to the idea of masks as he began to ponder on what would happen if everyone just discarded their masks i.e. began unmasking. And his latest solo show ‘Mask UN Mask’ which opens on January 17 at the Cube Gallery, Moira examines this further. “Here I am not just talking about human beings but also on what we are doing to nature by building all these concrete blocks,” he says.

The exhibition will feature around 30-40 paintings. “Although I have previously done a lot of work with ink and canvas, this time around I have used pen on paper as the situation demanded the use of paper. I have used black ink as black is a strong and aggressive colour and so it speaks louder,” he says.

Besides the paintings, de Souza is also putting up an installation at the gallery. “We have used an older huge work that is already there and masked it completely. The resulting effect could evoke different reactions from people – it could be inviting, shocking, repulsive,” says de Souza.


(The exhibition will remain open till February 24, 2019)

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