As we slowly dance our way into spring, a season full of new beginnings, gentle breezes, sunshine and warmth we have all been craving for, we are met with the same harsh wake up call we received last year. This time though the global pandemic is not just knocking on our front door, it’s waltzed right in, made itself at home and now comes and goes as it pleases.
As you may know, I don’t like to depend on societal rules for structure in my life, I’ve always been keen on individuality and independent thinking, but for maybe the first time in my life, I’m left with no choice but to follow the rules. In June 2020, when the WHO recommended that people wear masks to control the spread of COVID-19, there was an utter lack of commitment. Many people completely disregarded the pandemic, openly denied facts and refused to comply with the new rules and regulations. So the virus has continued to spread. This negligence gave me the idea to make a transparent mask. A mask which is of no practical use, this in turn causes a conversation, and thus the name ‘The Warning Mask’, hopefully it initiates discussions which warn society of the true threat this pandemic presents.
The intention behind this art piece is to reflect on how society as a whole is dealing with the pandemic. To invite the people who aren’t recognising the real horrors of it, to see how this virus will change each and every one of us. The mask is also a criticism of the people who choose not to wear masks, it is a warning to them. It scared me to think about how they were slowing the progress back to a new normal. The world changed in an instant and resistance was shocking to witness, there was so much selfishness. I believe that this affects everyone and now is not the time to practice individuality.
There are many negative aspects to wearing masks, they’re uncomfortable, it’s a bother to remember to take them everywhere you go, you can't enjoy fresh air all the time, social interactions are hindered, the list goes on. The one positive, I believe, does however outshine all the negatives, it greatly reduces the risk of contracting COVID-19.
I made The Warning Mask with fine silver wire and stones, weaving the structures that I imagined until it became what it is now. I started late last summer with this piece and recently I decided to add the garnet stones so as to resemble lips. I also wanted The Warning Mask to embody our desire for closeness, it’s about our humanity. We are creatures of desire.
I was and still am afraid of what our ignorance can lead to, but we can choose to learn from our mistakes and grow. I sincerely hope that we all embrace this as a lesson.