Zaouli masked Dancer ( Ivory Coast, West Africa) - Arzouma Kompaore
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La Danza de los Diablo Espejos - Arzouma Kompaore.jpg
Diablo Tun Tun ( Panama)     - ARZOUMA KOMPAORE.jpg
Female version of Vejigante mask (Puerto Rico) symbolic of a new genereation - Arzouma Kompaore.jpg

Barakoa Project - African Masquerade

The Barakoa Project was a learning experience of the African Diaspora and it showed how similar many of our cultures are because our roots are African. The meaning of the masks is so much deeper, than just hiding behind a mask. This project was a community effort.

BARAKOA (AFRICAN MASQUERADE): A Creative Collision Project

Funded by the Max and Marian Farash Foundation


Masks in Africa have many functions.  This art form is the place where spirit and man meet.  It preserves the myths, realities and morals of a society.  Traditionally each mask is created from the living essence of wood and is embellished with sacred symbols appropriate for whatever the occasion may be. These designs, usually inspired by nature, are sacred and always acknowledge the power of the Creator, who is always with us.  Celebrations include requesting blessings for crops, rites of passage  (i.e. moving from adolescence to adulthood), asking for protection and guidance, giving thanks and praise for blessings received, and giving honor to the ancestors.


This project brings together diverse art forms to reinvigorate the tradition of African mask and costume parades in Rochester.

Costume and mask making require synergy between visual and folk arts, sculpture, fiber arts, design, dance and performance.

The uniqueness and brilliance of each artist, organization and participant in this project, joined in effort and focus, collides in this dramatic community-building project.  Furthermore, different generations must collide to make it happen.

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©2017 by The Baobab Cultural Center.

Zaouli masked Dancer ( Ivory Coast, West Africa) - Arzouma Kompaore