MAGAZINE: Transition 109 - Persona (Forthcoming, October 2012)

Many of the artists featured in Transition109 make their livings making themselves up—Renée Stout buying new potions for her “shop” as the root worker Madam Ching, or Rashaad Newsome drawing on “the equalizing force of sampling” to create his own language and title in the heraldic tradition.

But even for these performance artists, persona shades into personality, and their theatrics don’t seem so different from the daily wardrobe decisions of metalheads in Botswana, or, at the other end of the spectrum, the highly tuned persona, personality, and apotheosis of personhood that is Oprah herself. As Ms. Winfrey might say, you are your hardest role yet. The craft of the self is unmasked in this issue, revealing the sleight of hand at play in Paul Laurence Dunbar’s famous words: “We wear the mask.” There’s a special ring to it in the African diaspora.

Issue 109 Table of Contents

Featured Article My Mother's House Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah Ghansah reverses the Great Migration, going south with her fiancé to find and lose her way among the ghosts of family graves.