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Masquerades of ModernityPower and Secrecy in Casamance, Senegal$
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Ferdinand de Jong

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748633197

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633197.001.0001

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The Art of Tradition

The Art of Tradition

(p.173) 8 The Art of Tradition
Masquerades of Modernity

Ferdinand de Jong

Edinburgh University Press

Inspired by initiation ceremonies and masked performances, artists in Casamance depict these rituals in their art. This chapter analyzes how these works of art are given various, contradictory meanings depending on the context in which they are shown. It shows how the depiction of secret rituals is part of the widely shared sense that such rituals will eventually vanish in the process of ‘modernization’. It is feared that such ‘traditions’ come to signify ‘locality’, even if they are not capable of producing it. However, in spite of the modernist expectation that rituals will disappear in the onslaught of ‘modernization’, they do in fact have a future as ‘traditions’ and continue to escape their contextualization.

Keywords:   initiation, masked performance, artworks, secret rituals

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