Masquerade costume

The Dogon people of Mali perform ceremonial dances dressed in striking masks and costumes. One such dance honours the dead: every morning and evening for up to six days, masqueraders dance in the village and surrounding fields – even on the deceased’s rooftop. Today, the Dogon also perform dances to entertain tourists.

Collection Connections 

How do you use clothing to change your role or identity?

responded: Sep 17, 2011

Posted by Julie-Rae King

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I often use clothing to change my role and shape the identity I wish to portray. Sometimes, I pick out a long flowing dress, wrap an over sized leather belt around my waist and throw a vintage wool shawl on top and for that day I am an artistic hippie. Other times, I shimmy into a slimming black pencil skirt and pearl buttoned blouse and I am a sophisticated young professional, ready to work. However, the one piece of clothing which has the most impact on my identity is my chultzah (pictured below). The chultzah, which means shirt in Hebrew, portrays me as a member of the Habonim Dror North America Youth Group. The style of the shirt is based on the clothing worn by early pioneers of the Kibbutz movement in Israel. The red string represents the labour socialist views of the movement and is always worn longer on the left to indicate political orientation. I received my chultzah when I was 16, on a trip to Israel with my national age group from HDNA. When I wear my chultzah, I am representing an entire movement and I am publicly stating my connection to that movement and its values. I wear it when I am engaged in movement work, such as running year round programming for youth, or attending social justice events. My ties to Habonim Dror have had a profound influence on my identity. Wearing my chultzah reminds me of the values and ideals I associate with Habonim Dror and myself.

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