Masks Around The World: Clothing The Pandemic
Written by ABR on 30/11/2022
A true expression of dire need to express what could potentially sell well, we are uncomfortably familiar with the curation pieces used for this art exhibition.
This art exhibition makes it really hard for us to turn away out of ignorance because it is not an option. By now, we’ve come to know this piece as part of us. The masks have become iconic symbols of the pandemic and for us. Today, it represents not only humanity’s resilience but community and unity during this global crisis.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, makers, artists, and designers around the world have transformed face masks. From essential protective devices to dynamic expressions of our lived experiences, mask-making has allowed many to channel their creative and design energies while providing moments of purpose, calm, and healing during these turbulent times.
“Masks as an expression of modern art – regardless of status and prominence – is absolutely fitting to what every museum could exhibit. Not only will these get the youths into historical buildings represented by a museum, their virtual exhibitions demand equal power. It is an absorption of barometer on how modern art are interpreted at present,” said Monica Tong, art editor of Music Press Asia.
Over 100 masks have been curated into six major themes: Art & Intervention; Politics & Protest; Solidarity & Communities; Body & Spirit; Innovation & Sustainability; and Fashion & Pop Culture. Experience masks in ways you may not have imagined: as expressions of joy, heroism, activism, cultural pride, and as symbols of hope and unity.
About the GetMePPE mask
These masks made from kiln-cast glass are part of a wider series by glass artist and designer, Felekşan Onar. When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Turkey, Onar was involved with private initiatives to raise funds to supply much-needed equipment for the Turkish healthcare system. While locked down at home, she worked on glass-making projects using the fusing kiln in her garage – she says this kept her sane. Disposable masks are used and discarded. Onar comments that “what once was a shield between life and death is trash once it concludes its use”
Felekşan Onar, Turkey, 2020
Designed in Turkey and made in Istanbul, Turkey
Fused and slumped float glass
Victoria and Albert Museum
ME.7 to ME.11-2021
This virtual exhibition is an international collaboration among numerous museum curators. They have collected face masks for their institutions to document the material culture of the pandemic from 2020–2021.
For full information about the masks, its designers and purposes, visit their official website here.
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