Teddy Mitchener is an American-born Kenyan-based photographer who draws inspiration from traditional African masks and recreates them on living models. Mitchener edits each representation with contemporary meaning to create powerful critiques of modern society.
“We are witnessing the death of originality, the death of authenticity and the cheapening of information and communication. We are witnessing the slow erosion of our own true African selves and what held for millennia is slowly passing away in the face of modernization, and with the least amount of resistance.
This creative concept was birthed during a photo-shoot of the ethnographic collection of African masks at the Cultural Heritage Centre in Arusha, Tanzania, and is presented to showcase conceptually, the cultural erosion, the societal transition, that we are witnessing among the so-called millennials and within the public discourse.
“I select a particular African mask and paint this mask's distinctive features onto a model’s face and create textures on half of the face to denote degradation, hence ‘Disappearing Africa’.