Masks of one sort or another are found in most cultures, and have been since the time of the Greeks and Romans. They are used in many different ways – in theatrical and ritual performances, in religious and magical ceremonies, in carnival and festive occasions, in communicating with gods and spirits, in warfare, in curing sickness, in representing masculine and feminine beauty, in sport, etc.
In their usage in Africa, for example, Masks not only conceal the identity of the user, but also create a new identity that is frequently linked to the spiritual world. They are used in agricultural, religious, funeral, weather fertility, medicinal, coming-of-age, thanksgiving, etc ceremonies.
I've been collecting ethnic Masks for a number of years. I usually buy old and battered ones at flea markets/vide greniers, take them home for repair and cleaning, and then try to transform them into how they might have once looked or give them a new interpretation.
Some of my Masks were exhibited in the Collectif de Sigean's Gallerie de Chateau spectacle in August - September, 2013. A further Exhibition took place in April 2014, when some 50 Masks, Mask Assemblages, Mask paintings and other Mask bits and pieces were shown at the Médiathèque in Sigean, France.