Mirrors and Masks, 2013–15, by Kader Attia

Friday, March 22, 2019 - 11:23

A number of works in Kader Attia's solo exhibition The Museum of Emotion explore the still under-acknowledged influence of African art on the trajectory of Western art history.

Attia made the first mask in his series Mirrors and Masks in 2009, after visiting the exhibition Picasso and the Masters at the Grand Palais, in Paris. Although the exhibition included works by Western artists known to have influenced Picasso, Attia was shocked to find that it did not include any African masks, another well-known influence on the artist.

The work he made as a response – a wooden mask covered with shards of broken mirror – reflects the viewer back in fragments, or in Attia's words, ‘shows everybody who looks at it a Cubist portrait of themselves.’

Installation view of Kader Attia: The Museum of Emotion, Hayward Gallery, 2019. Photo: Theirry Bal


Kader Attia: The Museum of Emotion was at Hayward Gallery from 13 February until 6 May 2019.


From internationally acclaimed artists at Hayward Gallery, to pop-up installations, showcases and immersive experiences. Engaging and inspiring art and exhibitions can be found across Southbank Centre.

current & upcoming exhibitions


further works in focus