Mask Festival – FESTIMA 2012

Last week marked the 14th edition of Dédougou’s FESTIMA (Festival International des Masques et des Arts de Dédougou). The event is held every two years and while there are other mask festivals around, FESTIMA is unique in that it shows off many different styles of masks all at the same time in the same place. Masks were mainly from Burkina, but groups from Benin, Togo, and Mali were also involved. Most of the spectators were from the immediate area, but the festival did draw some groups of international (mostly French) tourists.

Griotsalong with other musicians, would bring the masks to life with their music – usually drums or a flute-type instrument. Each group, composed of griots, musicians, three to eight masks and a few others would perform at a time. Most masks represented animals while others represented spirits from the bush. It is said that once the performer dons his mask (women are not permitted to wear masks) he becomes the animal/spirit he is wearing. Locals told us that it often helps that the performer is a little tipsy.

Check out some of my favorite images from the festival below (and thanks to Hayley, who borrowed my camera for a few of these shots as I was trapped in the office during parts of the week). I’ll get some of the great video footage up once I get suitably fast internet.


12 Responses to “Mask Festival – FESTIMA 2012”

  1. 1 Anonymous
    March 12, 2012 at 22:31

    I love the colors! Great pictures Scott. You really have an eye for photography. :-)))

  2. 2 Anne
    March 13, 2012 at 15:30

    What amazing pictures! Can you buy the masks, or they only make them for the festival?

    • March 14, 2012 at 19:00

      Masks are available for sale, though I didn’t buy at the festival. I’ll try to pick one up in Ouaga before leaving. Any catch your eye?

  3. 4 Bruce Worthington
    March 13, 2012 at 22:39

    I can see where the Broadway show Lion King wardrobe ideas came from – these are amazing. I think that BK will get tourists to come in just to see this display.

    • March 18, 2012 at 11:27

      Seriously. I can’t believe there weren’t more people there (or that my Burkina guidebook hardly even mentions FESTIMA at all).

  4. 6 MC
    March 13, 2012 at 22:49

    WOW! Beautiful pictures Scott – You totally captured the energy/vibe of the festival!

  5. March 16, 2012 at 17:20

    where’s my photo credit!!!!
    yours look great by the way!

  6. 10 wglasscock
    March 24, 2012 at 18:48

    Fantastic pictures, man! Really enjoyed this.

  7. 11 Anonymous
    April 2, 2012 at 02:22

    These are amazing. I so enjoy your pics and the blog

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