papier mache; masks of different dimensions

“Art Education majors at Northern Kentucky University have been learning about studio materials and techniques in P-12 classrooms. This project explored papier mache’ mask-making. The Challenge was to create a mask which will be worn to transform/protect/conceal/camouflage/etc.- the wearer in this time of Covid-19. Student artists were allowed to include both animal and human qualities to contribute to the meaning of their mask. Below are their statement:

Jeff POST: “My mask can transform the wearer into what I’ve become during this pandemic. The animal quality in the mask is a pig, who gets overweight as it eats constantly and moves very little. The human qualities of my mask are shown with the gas mask which is strapped to the pig’s face in an attempt to filter out the virus.”

Lillie TUCKER: “For my mask I wanted to emphasize the big ideas of protection and independence. The mask will protect the wearer through the symbolism of the animal that I incorporated in it. Features of the face like eyes, nose, mouth etc. will help protect. Human eyes will help to see and ears to hear in case there is any danger coming.”

Mikayla WERNER: “The mask resembles a Tiki from the Hawaiian culture. Tikis are used to represent a specific god’s mana, or power. The mask has animal qualities such as lion mane, shark teeth, jaguar spots, to provide additional protection through battle. A lion represents courage and that’s one thing one needs when facing the public during a global pandemic. Sailors and surfers often wear shark teeth for good luck so they would represent safety and protection over whatever the wearer overcomes. The spots will represent the power and agility of the jaguar. These qualities will help keep the wearer out of danger and allow them to kill quickly and effectively. The human qualities it possesses are flesh-colored skin, human mouth and nose which will help the wearer get a sense of the world around them and the type of environment they are fighting in.”

Hannah WOLF: “The idea of my mask is mimicking an actual medical mask. It will cover the nose and mouth and leave the eyes visible; this will allow to stop the possible spread of the virus. I chose to add human ears to the mask because I felt that they represented the influx of news, scientific studies, and political opinions that have been talked about and spread since the pandemic struck. The ears make the wearer able to hear all of the new information so that it can learn how to better protect itself as new information about the Coronavirus seems to come out every day. I made the mask resemble an armadillo shell because of the armadillo’s tendency to curl into a ball to protect itself, resembling the shelter in place and social distancing guidelines that were put into place mid-March, also around the world.”

ARTIST BIO: This is an art project art teacher Lisa JAMESON did with her art education majors at NKU, prompted by the role of masks in this time of Covid-19 pandemic.