Growing up in India, I was always intrigued by masks and its powerful tradition of storytelling in different indigenous communities. Masks can reflect our state of mind. They can be empowering at times. The inanimate mask comes to life when worn, charged with a life force from within the wearer. They evoke, memorialize, reveal, and conceal all at the same time. The mask-making session can be a fertile ground for expressive therapy, inviting the participant to explore various aspects of their own persona through the creative process. It speaks beyond the realm of words employing imagination in non-verbal somatic expression.
In the workshop at Public Annex, I wanted to explore how masks shift the perceptions of a body (able and disable) while animating itself, drawing energy from its wearer. The mask making process involved participants sharing their childhood stories, special events, and characters inspired them or have great memories about. We then designed masks taking references from those stories and characters. We used different materials to design these masks. The most intriguing part of the project was participants wore the maks they created and performed different characters.