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Artist Daniel Callahan’s ritual face painting is focus of two BMAC events

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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — Boston-based artist Daniel Callahan, whose work is on view in the exhibition “En-MassQ” at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC), will take part in two events focused on his unique practice of “MassQing,” a ritual marking of the face with paint that aims to reveal the inner essence of his subjects and to find “connection and communion with all things.” Callahan will give an artist talk on April 21, and he will host a participatory MassQing workshop on April 22. His BMAC exhibit is on view through June 11. The exhibit and related events are supported by a grant from The Artist’s Resource Trust.

Callahan’s artistic practice is related to long-standing traditions of face painting as a means by which individuals shape their own identities by marking, decorating, and adorning the body. Callahan’s MassQs also draw attention to contemporary ways in which people present themselves and perceive others through bodily appearances. Through collaboration, Callahan seeks to connect with the people he MassQs, and his resulting multimedia works are a platform through which he shares their stories.

“Simultaneously symbolic, abstract, and figurative, MassQs aim to change the way we ‘look’ in both meanings of the word: how we appear to others and how we gaze upon them in turn,” Callahan writes in an essay accompanying the BMAC exhibition. “The broader socio-political and racial implications of how we look determine our collective reality.”

On Friday, April 21, at 7 p.m., Callahan will give an artist talk in which he will discuss his multidisciplinary work and its themes, influences, and evolutions. Topics will include mediums, mysticism, afrofuturism, personal and community expression, and the role of art, culture, and ritual in human society. This event will take place in person at BMAC and online via Zoom and Facebook Live. Registration is optional and walk-ins are welcome.

On Saturday, April 22, at 2 p.m., Callahan will host an art-making workshop, also at BMAC. He will share the techniques and meaning behind his practice of “MassQing,” and participants will create their own MassQs. This event will take place in person at BMAC. Space is limited, and registration is required. Tickets, which are $55, $45 for BMAC members, can be purchased online at brattleboromuseum.org or by calling 802-257-0124 x101.

Daniel Callahan is a multimedia artist, award-winning filmmaker, and designer. His work has been featured at the Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, and Queens Museum, as well as in publications such as Believer Magazine, The Bay State Banner, Smithsonian Press, and Words Beats & Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture. He holds an M.F.A. in film and video from Emerson College and a B.A.S. in fine arts and Africana studies from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design.

Founded in 1972, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and other public programs. BMAC is open Wednesday–Sunday, 10–4. Admission is free. Located in historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro, at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, the museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit brattleboromuseum.org.

BMAC is supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Brattleboro Savings & Loan, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, and Whetstone Beer Co.

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