Media – Traditional Masquerades, The Gambia © Jason Florio / Brussels Airlines

Media - The Zimba Masquerade, the Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio for Brussels Airlines inflight magazine
Media – The Zimba Masquerade, the Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio.

 

‘the non-human form of the masquerade gives the viewer the impression of a spirit being…’ Jason FlorioBInspired/Brussels Airlines inflight magazine (page 9).

See more about our masquerades series, in the Gambia, and Senegal, West Africa.

Forest Festival, Casamance, Senegal, West Africa- made for United Purpose, NGO – ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio.

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2019 – Currently working on ‘Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime‘ #Portraits4PositiveChange

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Photo of the Day – ‘The Hunting’ traditional masquerades, The Gambia © Jason Florio

'The Hunting' traditional masquerades, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio photography
‘The Hunting’ traditional masquerades, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio.

 

Aside from the more serious element to our work – particularly, what we are working on at the moment, ‘Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime#Portraits4PositiveChange – we have also been working on another long-term series of the traditional masquerades of The Gambia.

Although the Gambia is a predominantly Muslim country, the animist-fuelled masquerade ceremonies pre-date the arrival of Islam and are still tolerated and practiced around the country. Animism is an intriguing subject – the belief that animals and inanimate objects, such as trees, possess a soul, or a spiritual essence.

Also, the juxtaposition between the urban environment and these ancient traditions is fascinating – just like ‘The Hunting’, pictured, in the concrete and corrugated iron enclave of a compound in the capital city of Banjul.

Jason Florio photographs 'The Hunting', traditional masquerades, Banjul, Gambia - Image © Helen Jones-Florio
Jason Florio photographs ‘The Hunting’, traditional masquerades, Banjul, Gambia – Image © Helen Jones-Florio @floriotravels/Instagram.

 

Whether it be a circumcision ceremony, celebrating a successful harvest, chasing away evil spirits, enforcing village rules, or simply for entertainment, each particular masquerade plays a central and significant role in many parts of West African society.

'Fairies' traditional masquerades, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio photography
‘Fairies’ traditional masquerades, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

 

Most of the masquerades we’ve seen so far are based on animals. However, the traditions are being hauled into the 21st century, modernised by the use of synthetic fabrics and ornaments, such as Christmas tree baubles, adorning ‘new-style’ masquerades. However, more on those particular masquerades as we move on with the long-term project (sneak preview, below).

Helen Jones- Florio & Jason Florio.

Photographers, Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio, The Gambia, West Africa selfie
Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio, The Gambia

 

Available for assignments & for image licensing – Contact here

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Celebrating Pride 2018 – portraits, Greenwich Village, NYC ©Jason Florio

Portrait of participants in New York City's 2013 Gay Pride parade, walking through Greenwich Village ©Jason Florio / ReduxPictures, NYC
Portraits ©Jason Florio/ Redux Pictures – New York City’s Gay Pride parade, walking through Greenwich Village.

 

Celebrating Pride, 2018 – diversity and freedom

 

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Redux Pictures, NYC

 

Portraits ©Jason Florio/ Redux Pictures -  New York City's Gay Pride parade, walking through Greenwich Village.
Portraits ©Jason Florio/ Redux Pictures – New York City’s Gay Pride parade, Greenwich Village.

Traditional Kankurangs, in motion, The Gambia, West Africa

 Kankurangs of The Gambia

– we happened upon this scene, whilst visiting old friends in Kembujeh, on our way back from Kanilai. We’ve been photographing these traditional masquerades for a number of years now, so it’s always great to happen across another version of the Kankurang; in the creative way that the boys use different kinds of materials to make the outfits. See more of our work on masquerades here 

footage ©Helen Jones-Florio

Follow us – @floriotravels/Instagram – for regular photo updates from The Gambia, and other travels