The South African Children's Mask Exhibit is most unconventional: All of the artists reside in the Agape Children's Home in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa, and all are orphans whose parents succumbed to AIDS.
This artistic project evolved from support efforts from Denver's Epworth Methodist Church and a Nashville church. After a devastating fire at Agape in 2004, fourteen children were brought to the United States and were feted at a gala fundraiser organized by entertainers Alicia Keys, Bono, film director Spike Lee and tennis champ Serena Williams. The children came to Denver, too, and performed in several concerts.
During a trip to South Africa in 2005, the Reverend Ronald Wooding, assistant pastor at Epworth, conceived the mask project. "We sought other ways to bring attention to the plight of the orphanage," he says. "I purchased the masks, paint and other materials, and the children got started."
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Since Wooding brought the ninety masks back to Denver in late 2006, they've been displayed in several local haunts. The exhibit moves today to the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, where it will stay up through March 31. Call 303-294-9258 or visit www.mercurycafe.com.
March 2-31, 2008