Thursday, 18 April 2013

Creative Perspectives on the Individual - Part 2: Masks

Find the image of a mask you find fascinating (e.g. by typing into google: "mask cultural images"). Look at it carefully and try to absorb all the details.

Option 1)

Try to get a sense/feel of the spirit that the mask embodies. Then imagine you are wearing the mask and you are becoming the personality of the mask. Tell us about your new you in any genre you wish (e.g. story, journal entry, email message, poem, dialogue, description etc).

Option 2)

Do some research about the mask: culture, meaning, symbolism, cultural and/or historical and/or social and/or religious and/or mythological background and tell us about it.

This, too, is meant to be fun! Enjoy to be someone else!



  1. By: Guadalupe Rodriguez Arizpe

    Masks have a long history throughout the ancient world: magical or religious, for rites of passage or as a make-up for theatre.

    Today, we think of masks as having two key functions: the first, to conceal one’s identity; the second, as protection from things like disease (surgical mask), dirty air (filter mask), or flying balls (baseball catcher’s mask). Those are physical masks, but we also wear emotional masks: smiles to mask sadness, amusement to mask boredom, laughter to mask pain.

    We all wear many faces, I think because we have many “selves.” I’m not talking about split personality, but instead about our different facets/aspects. Different people and situations present differing expectations of us. You can yell yee-haw at a country bar but best not do it in church.

    At times an emotional mask yes, but not always. If I think I am in a situation where I feel vulnerable or I don’t trust the other person I might protect myself by changing my behaviour or masking my true emotions. I will judge that by the person and my gut instincts. I don’t think I am the only person who does this; but humans might do it to varying degrees.

  2. I found the Mayan funeral masks to be very interesting and beautiful. They were made out of pearl and obsidian. The Mayans believed that once a king passed away they would be going to the underworld and into battle, these masks would scare potential gods who may want to wage battle. They had to defeat the gods of the under world and ascend to the gods of corn. Corn/Maize, is how the Mayan people where created from. This story is told in their creation myth by Popol Voh.

  3. Poem-- Mask
    © Potsim And Pikachu

    I was once sad and lonely,
    Having nobody to comfort me,
    So I wore a mask that always smiled;
    To hide my feelings behind a lie.

    Before long, I had many friends;
    With my mask, I was one of them.
    But deep inside, I still felt empty,
    Like I was missing a part of me.

    Nobody could hear my cries at night
    For I designed my mask to hide the lies.
    Nobody could see the pain I was feeling
    For I designed my mask to be laughing.

    Behind all the smiles were the tears
    And behind all the comfort were the fears.
    Everything you think you see,
    Wasn't everything there was to me.

    Day by day,
    I was slowly dying.
    I couldn't go on,
    There was something missing..

    Until now I'm still searching
    For the thing that'll stop my crying.
    For someone who'll erase my fears,
    For the person who'll wipe my tears.

    But till then I'll keep on smiling.
    Hiding behind this mask I'm wearing.
    Hoping one day I can smile,
    Till then, I'll be here.. waiting.

  4. The mask that I chose is not really a mask but creates that feeling of mystery and it is the way Arabic women do their makeup. They make their eyes very black and create an intense look that seems like if you are looking at a mask. This method of painting your face is very seductive and attractive that you focus very much on the face trying to discover what is behind but you are actually looking at the person right from the beginning. I think this is an interest method that middle east people use, including the use of the veil, to create a mystery and a special kind of mask to protect their beauty and identities.

  5. When you look at the faces around you, you will very quickly discover they are amazingly interesting and intricate works of art. Like kaleidoscopes, they reveal a variety of designs, and are expressive of a wide range of emotions. A mask is just a model of a face that one may use to cover one's own face to express the characteristics of another being. So, what is a mask anyway?
    A mask is a tool that one may use to alter one's exterior appearance, and sometimes one's personality also, temporarily. The influence of a mask may be very personal or have broader social implications. Wearing a mask may also change the wearer's actions and other people's reactions to the wearer. This double impact is a basic characteristic of masks and is also what makes them so attractive for people to use, as has been discovered from antiquity to the present time.
    So what should a mask contain? Disguise and creativity are essential elements of a mask. A mask normally covers all or part of the face to hide the wearer's real identity, and/or emotions, because it portrays a facial expression different from one's own. Sometimes, when it is large enough to cover not only the face, but also the head and part of the body, it is called a headdress instead.

  6. One reason for wearing a mask is to pretend to be someone or something else. The mask can be a kind of language that expresses the emotion of the figure one chooses to create. When one sees a person wearing a mask depicting a happy expression, what do you think it means? It may infer several meanings. It may convey the mask wearer's genuine happiness to other people, and make them laugh, or it may mask, or hide, the wearer's real emotions, such as unhappiness. Some masks may serve more than one purpose. Throughout history, and in the different cultures of the world, people in almost every society have worn masks for a variety of functions and purposes. So what was, and is, a mask used for? It may be used to change one's identity, to transform one into a new character, or to hide one's identity, or to protect one's face from being hurt and so on.

  7. A mask can be useful for different things. A mask can express a fake feeling that we want people perceive of our selves. We can decor it in different ways and with different expressions that are going to represent our fake face. How many times we meet people that all the time is wearing a mask ? Hypocrisy could be the name of that mask that is just useful for cover our real intentions. However a mask may useful on those days that you do not really want show yourself as you really feel.

  8. This is the mask I chose:

    In this mask I see myself. Curious, alert, startled but cheerful and inquisitive. Or at least how I like to imagine myself to be. I love the straw hair, it makes him look like a Rasta man or something. But of course this is West Coast art, they did not know Caribbean culture. The yellow of the beak matches the yellow of the hair and the beard? around its face. There is yellow too around the eyes. I love yellow and this mask has lots of yellow.

  9. 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.


    masks reflect the innocence of the primitive people of the world who were the real creators of these aesthetically sublime and culturally functional symbols. The mask is a heritage of this planet and works beyond all stipulated geo-political boundaries of the world.

    Masks portray the various moods that appear on our faces as reflections of the various emotions we through. Experiences of emotions - love, anger, hate, fury, joy, fear, disgust, sorrow - transcend castes, creed and nationality and the universal body language depicting these emotions has been given form through masks. It was believed that masks linked man to natural powers by balancing with the forces of nature and the spirit world. I believe that masks are not a cover to what we are but the actual representation of who we are.