The word comes from the Latin Persona ( the personare verb per- sonare : talk through ) it meant the mask worn by theater actors . This mask had the function at a time to give the character's appearance he interpreted to the actor. But also to allow his voice to be heard far enough from the audience. In his analytical psychology , Carl Gustav Jung took over this word for the part of the personality that organizes the individual's relationship to society , the way everyone has more or less run in a socially predefined character to take his social role. The ego can easily identify with the persona , leading the individual to take to the one he is in the eyes of others and not knowing who he really is. The persona represents our social mask , the face we show to others, one that allows us to communicate with them and to help them identify us . But more often , we do not really realize that we wear this mask. All of which leads to Jung as " persona is what someone is not in reality, but that he and others think it is.
Social masks are double-edged : If we are under social pressure and we have this default mask , it becomes a wound, a burden. If we are fully aware and use the mask properly / to our advantage , it becomes a force, a weapon. Appearances and social masks allow the company survival , we are to be both simple and complex , we reveal a part of what we really are. It is a way to protect ourselves. Do not forget where we come from, who we are.
My series reflect the moult of our African society. Impersonate someone richer , more attractive, more serious, or more traditional ou « Westernized » sometimes both at the same time .. Play its role in the social arena . Hide under the perpetual face mask traditional cultural dictates , but often act inconsistently. African society accepts and promotes those who play a role, who can " sell " .. The self-promotion has never been stronger and desired that nowadays . The idea of " fit in » in the mold is very present.
Everyone dreams of appearing at its best, stronger, more beautiful, more powerful. In my series , I avoid photoshop and I decide to create masks "for real" life-size . Translate literally the notion of " social mask" by projecting the face of a person on another person’s face . This, regardless of sex , age, or gender . My work comes in 3 steps : face makeup is first, to provide a mask aspect, through a makeup that gives the appearance of a drawn face, a bad drawing , inspired by signs of african street hairdressers. The face lines are uttered, marked , and skins have a waxy aspect. complexion does not conform to the true complexion of the model . the eyes is deliberately expressionless, Frozen faces, masks . People often say " the image that you project ," ... to take the qualities of someone else to appear at its best . For these projections, I do not try to align the facial features , I leave it to chance ..
Then the face is isolated from the rest of the body, to form a mask . It will be shown on the face of another person . This creates confusion because the face on which the projection takes place is almost erased . The identity is blurred .. gender , age fades away. Everyone can become whatever he wants.
Finally, I have projected a series of statements on the face painted in white. These statements reflect the ideas that we hope to project when we choose to wear masks in society. In Africa , the weight of society still seems heavy ... Appearances and social masks allow to survive in the society, we are both simple and complex , we only reveal a part of what we really are. Social networks make it an essential rituals to " be , to seem, to exist." We are moving from traditional mask of the worshiped deity and we become our own gods. Ego replaced the guardian of the community.
Which mask do we wear today ? When we become aware of the existence of this social mask, we can act consciously on it . What do we hide behind these masks?