by Vicki Malone
Are we seeing ourselves differently after living this long with Covid-19? In the YK region, almost everybody agrees with medical experts that wearing masks helps stop the spread of the virus. At first, masks seemed strange, perhaps like something out of a sci-fi movie, but by now folks are getting used to seeing themselves and others with half their faces covered. Artists and crafts people are exploring this new look through painting, textiles and sewing creative masks.
Incidentally, the three women in this article were among those who sewed and donated masks to the BCSF mask project at the beginning of the pandemic. They continue to be creative and help other artists.
Shown below, is YK resident, Connie Dull (Connie James – originally from Alakanuk), who is the subject of Anchorage artist Linda Brady Farr’s exhibit of twenty masked individuals. The acrylic painting exhibit is called “Mask-Up.” It is now showing at the Georgia Blue Gallery in Anchorage. The artist, a well-known quilter and painter in Alaska, became fascinated with masked faces.
Longtime Bethel resident, Kathy Baldwin, explores her own masked face through embroidery. Kathy took a photo of herself, printed out a black and white print. After taping the photo to the window, she put fabric over the print and traced the image. Boom—the focus of this work is on her multi-colored, flowered mask!
Zhi Ting Tai Hastie, of Bethel, is well known for her original creations using magnificent floral patterns to help people celebrate their commitment to mask wearing. At this time, she is donating all of the proceeds from her masks to young people in treatment for cancer. Her masks can be purchased for $9 each on-line-free postage for orders over $45.
We invite you to send pictures of your own creative “Mask-Up” projects to [email protected]