The cover of this collection shows a Guro mask in action. It's a lively picture—the dancer wears a red mask and a colorful costume with many shades of red that make it stand out against a background of sandy soil and youthful onlookers. The photo obviously registers as performance.

Seeing it for the first time prompted me to do some research on the Internet, and YouTube has yielded a wealth of clips showing the same type of mask in movement1: the very specific, virtuosic, energetic dance that belongs to this mask has changed my view of the image completely; the horizontal bands of different colors, so typical of this mask's costume, reinforce in a very theatrical way the dancer's movements, to mention only one aspect of how looking beyond an object can enhance the understanding and appreciation of it.

The book offers essays alternating between English and French,...

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