• Post category:Exhibitions


What defines a Harlequin? The mask definitely comes to mind. Harlequins appeared (and perhaps originated) in the popular Italian theatre tradition- the Commedia dell’arte, defined by its elaborate wit and the use of pantomime. Most characters exist as social stereotypes: old men, military officers, know-it-all doctors, and for the Harlequin, it is the ‘devious servant’ archetype that is most prominent. But there’s more. Harlequins transcended their servile roles, thwarted the plans of their rich overlords and found love, even, as they morphed into romantic heroes over time. Behind their silent masks, their identities are uncertain – yet liminal.

For the portrait photographer, this masked character becomes a subject of great interest. What lies beyond their plastered, set-in-stone expressions? Does the mask add, or take away from the Harlequin’s abilities to express?

Arguably, the pandemic and its effects – as numerous as they were – created Harlequins of us all, with masks being the norm. The uncertainty of the surroundings seeped into those hybrid mask faces, from simple to designer-crafted ones, and presented itself in the many forms you will witness today. And, like the Harlequins in the comedia, they morphed and changed the identities of those wearing them.

Come, and experience the many shades of people, expressions and identities behind the veneer that the Harlequin presents. If something is taken away, then something else is given the opportunity to take its place. Go on, and let’s see you take your place, too!


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