Skip to main content

The Mask


                                                             (Female Mask - Igbo People)

I have been working with mask making the last few weeks. They are simple, self-drying clay masks.  Now that one of them is ready for some paint I have started to look it at more as a symbol. Today, when I looked at it though I realized it was quite grotesque and well, in a word hideous. But in all its ugliness, that is what masks can be for us.  The beauty is that a mask can be whatever we want it to be and used for a diverse array of purposes.


                                                             (Okuyi Mask - Punu People)


What happens when we peel away the mask and expose ourselves fully to the world? 
 
What does the mask allow us to be that we can’t otherwise be?

Is the mask a conduit to spirit? 

Does the mask inherently possess spirit?


These are all things I have been thinking about and then Paul Laurence Dunbar’s beautiful poem popped into my head. Now, I can’t get it out of my head. I am sharing it here with you: 

  

     We Wear the Mask

By Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

    WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties.
    Why should the world be over-wise,
    In counting all our tears and sighs?
    Nay, let them only see us, while
            We wear the mask.

    We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
    To thee from tortured souls arise.
    We sing, but oh the clay is vile
    Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
    But let the world dream otherwise,
            We wear the mask!


Food for thought...

Comments

  1. Wow! I just led a mask making workshop on Saturday. We used plaster. What kind of clay are you using for these masks? I'd like to give it a try.

    Thanks,
    Szmeralda

    ReplyDelete
  2. Szmeralda, I am doing self-drying clay masks in an Expressive Arts Workshop, also using that gauze cloth that has been dipped in plaster for sculptural forms and will begin in with papier mache soon. I am finding it to be a healing activity. The exquisite masks I posted here, are done by some amazing artists that I have identified. If you look underneath each image, you will see what group of people made them. Nice to hear from you! Hope your workshop went well!.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Acclaimed author Anne Rice posted a link to this article about Neolithic Spirit Masks today on FB. Thought some of you might be interested if you liked this post: http://www.timesofisrael.com/eerie-neolithic-masks-to-make-israel-museum-debut/

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Go ahead. Make my day by leaving a comment.

Popular posts from this blog

A to Z Challenge: A Month of African Proverbs

I'm all in, once again.  This is my third year of participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. This will be an intense spurt of reading and writing for me, as I'm also editing one book and writing another. I will do my best to stay in, and keep up!

For the month of April (2017) I will be blogging and visiting other blogs. This is a fun and meaningful practice that I've taken on to increase conversations with other readers and bloggers. I am always happy to see newcomers and, whether you comment or not, you are welcome.





A Month of African Proverbs
My 2017 theme is drawn from my soon-to-be released book "Earth Mama's Spiritual Guide to Weight Loss." I have a section of my book that contains African Proverbs. I will be spending time on each of those proverbs, exploring their meaning and inspiration regarding losing weight or otherwise transforming yourself.

Here is the definition of the word proverb: (from Latin: proverbium) is a simple and concrete saying…

Earth Mama's Spiritual Guide to Weight Loss Workshop

Happy to announce that my 6th book has been published by a small publishing house in England called Green Magic Publishing! You can find it here.

It is a very unique book, that has been a long time coming - 14 years actually! When I began writing it my adult children were still living at home and my youngest, who is about to graduate from high school, was little more than a toddler. Time flies but book writing seems to take forever!

The release of, Earth Mama's Spiritual Guide to Weight Loss feels like a birth. It has had growing pains, changes and the labor of bringing it into this world - a labor of love.





I'm offering a series of workshops at Life Force Arts Center in Chicago, to kick off the book and get you into its unique type of hands-on healing and transformation work. This first one is inspired by Welsh Goddess Cerrwiden. Following is a description and how you can sign up at Life Force Arts Center.






Cerrwiden’s Pig: Shifting and Personal Transformation
Goddess Spirituali…

A to Z Update

My plate is full with demanding, though fun and meaningful, projects. I thought I could participate in the A to Z Blogger's Challenge but can not. This year I'm going to support fellow bloggers from the sidelines during April, visiting your blogs when I can.  I'm in the final stages of editing my soon-to-be-released book, writing my 7th book and preparing for my fall solo exhibition of my art, and that is a very full plate.

I hope to do a good job with what I'm working on and put my passion there. I'm stepping out of the challenge before it begins in order to write, edit and paint.

See you all on your blogs during the A to Z Challenge, and hope to participate again in 2018!