The Mask As A Blank Canvas

A loosely defined group of artists here in Uruguay are decorating or doing something in some way to make a statement through face masks, or tapabocas, which here are now required to be worn by everyone wanting to go into any shop, bank, cambio or anything else that is open for business. When the group began talking a couple of weeks ago, I responded that it was a good idea to channel some creativity during this period of isolation, and suggested it might even might lead to an exhibition or perhaps a fund raising auction to help starving artists, or something. Well, artists are typically starving, anyway, so maybe that hasn’t changed a lot with the Covid-19 Plague.

Yesterday I thought I’d better rattle my dags and produce something, as some wonderful things have started appearing on the Whats App group page. And once I started thinking and looking for ideas, I found a couple in some collections of free clipart I browsed, and this morning spent some free time making this first one. I mean, it was not like I had anything more pressing or had any social engagement to get dressed for.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is tapaboca-1.jpg
Just for the sake of the photo the mask is folded down to allow the eyes to really feature, so don’t give me a hard time about how a mask should be worn, OK? Ideally sunglasses or even reading glasses would be worn with these (so that I could read labels), even though walking about with them on is not comfortable, but my optometrist says I’m not a candidate for transitions.

I think this should work OK with social distancing out on the street or in the supermarket, right? We’re now required to wear masks or ‘tapabocas’ pretty well everywhere you can think of as people begin to move about a bit more while still social distancing and staying at home whereever possible. It’s interesting that once upon a time you had to remove all head and face coverings in every bank here … now a mask is required to enter a bank or cambio, supermarket or any other business.

One friend has already suggested she and ‘everyone’ will want one. I’m not planning to go into production myself, as the lips are appliqued red fabric, and the other details hand drawn in – took about an hour and a half to make and decorate from scratch – so, way too time intensive even to do a limited edition. But some bright young thing might start up some kind of production, perhaps printing them onto pre-made non-medical masks which are selling cheaply everywhere now. Just yesterday, a young man came to the gate selling packs of 5 in aid of a community support group. We have plenty, but I gave him a donation, anyway. Quilters are making masks for hospital staff and other front line people, using lovely quilters’ fabrics – so perhaps this kind of thing will catch on.

Anyway, I have a couple more ideas waiting in my mind, but right now I need a change of activity, a new book awaits my attention. Take care everyone, and wash your hands.

One Response to “The Mask As A Blank Canvas”

  1. Shasta says:

    That mask is sure to bring a smile on the face of everyone who sees it, even though you won’t be able to see it since they are wearing a mask. What a great idea to make those masks more fun.

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