Congo Masks Masterpieces from Central Africa at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Check out the more than 130 striking Congolese masks!

Experience the Congo Masks exhibit at the VMFA through February 24.

Congo Masks exhibit
(Source: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

This one of a kind exhibit explores the vast and culturally diverse Congolese region of Central Africa.

These are more than just masks…they are truly works of art. It’s interesting to note, these masks from the Congo functioned as performance objects in rituals, ceremonies, worship, and entertainment.

“The masterpieces in this exhibition form an innovative and visually compelling display of artistry and cultures. They represent the artisans and performers who brought them to life, as well as varied communities, belief systems, and natural resources,” according to the VMFA website.

Masks range from the 17th to the 20th centuries and paint the picture of the types of tools and materials that were available in each of these regions.

Be sure to check out the “Mona Lisa of masks” as you walk into the exhibit. If you don’t immediately recognize it be sure to ask!

“The exhibition also includes original field photographs, field footage, audio recordings, and a selection of related musical instruments. Its immersive multimedia design, presenting eleven distinct regional styles of masks, evokes the diversity of ecosystems and cultures of the immense Congo. The exhibition is curated by Marc Leo Felix, director of the Congo Basin Art History Research Center in Brussels, Belgium.”

The VMFA is open 365 days a year so there are plenty of opportunities to get out and experience Congo Masks: Masterpieces from Central Africa!

Daily hours: 10 am – 5 pm
Thu and Fri until 9 pm


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