Bread, Banana, Apple, Milk, Goodbye

Gloria Anzaldúa, in her book Borderlands/La Frontera, reminds us that “an Indian mask in an American museum is transported into an alien aesthetic system where what is missing is the presence of power invoked through performance ritual.” The mask’s meaning or the mask as meaning is vastly altered by its new context. Despite the lengthy description mounted on the wall next to it, perhaps no one in the museum will perceive its original meaning. A mask, an utterance, a word, transported out of its original context, changes. To the passerby, we were simply speaking a language they could not understand.
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