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Becoming the Beast: Animal Identity in Cultural Masquerade

Masks are often viewed as the symbolic voices of culture, representing not only our own human nature, but also that of animal identity and the supernatural connection between them. As humanity has progressed, many times we have turned to the animals around us for insight into our own evolution as beings and to expand our spiritual nature. In this process, specific animal beings have been chosen as totems, acting as spiritual guides, and emblems of fertility, honor, strength, and survival.


Masks of many cultures exemplify the unity of man and beast. These totemic images represent participants of ritual and religious ceremonies as a way to move beyond the boundaries of human physical form, as well as to represent the secular social activities that offer a sense of community and connectivity to the world around us. Whether it is participating in a harvest procession to denote the changing of the seasons, dancing in a festival to celebrate the joys of life, or to showcase the physical toll of transformation, all of the masks, headdresses, and contemporary works represented within this exhibition serve as an invitation to understand the supernatural urge to become something more – to become the beast.


Please join us in viewing and celebrating these works throughout the Fall, opening Monday, Oct. 2nd, 2017 and running through Friday, Jan. 19th, 2018. Opening reception Friday, Oct. 6th, 2017 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm. Visual Resource Commons & Gallery, Fine Arts Building, 2nd Floor, FA2109. Open Monday-Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm.


For more information on these or other artworks from the UT Arlington Fine Arts Collection, please contact Cheryl Mitchell, Collections Specialist, at

Friday, January 19, 2018 at 8:30am to 12:00am

Visual Resource Commons & Gallery
700 Greek Row Drive, Arlington, Tx

Event Type

Arts & Culture


College of Liberal Arts, Art + Art History


Alumni, Local Community, Faculty & Staff, Students, Undergraduates

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