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Two Mask Ups featured in Spoonie Magazine!
Earlier in June, Spoonie Magazine featured photography of two of my Mask Ups! Well, technically all photography was mine too–even the backdrops are actually close-ins of my painted seder/matzah plates. I’m proud to have put together everything visible in the final shots, including the final shots. And I am so proud to be featured in Spoonie Magazine, given their incredible work featuring disabled artists, writers, who will be some of our most important voices going into the future, especially now that there is no Roe, and we are awaiting a verdict on the range of the EPA’s ability to protect us from disabling environmental pollutants.
These eggshells are some of my favorite Mask Ups, due to their complexity, and the sense of expansiveness and play in the composition–how you can truly see, as you rotate them, how the designs wrap and allow additional views. The detail in them requires over a dozen hours to create, each grain of sand placed by hand, over several coats of dye, just to highlight one area of complexity. And for those wondering why someone might spend that much time on a miniature landscape instead of working outside–disability is the X factor. That only through masking can someone like me be free to go outside, travel, without fearing infection should I be injured and need medical treatment, or be infected by someone who moves too close, grabs my wheelchair if I’m in their way, or violates my bodily autonomy. Unnecessary trips outside, let alone vacations, professional trips, are serious risks with my immunocompromisation. It is only through the interdependance of masking, and depending on my community to mask that someone like me can be free. That is the core ethos of the Mask Up story in these shells; that masking brings freedom and health and the wisdom of the universe, as we are able to experience solidarity, freedom, etc. through our commitment to each other. Every Mask Up’s story is unique, however, and that is why so many other shells have different meanings–seeking education, or peace of mind, or celebrating innocence, or memorializing those kin who did not survive.
The Mask Up division and the designs that fill them are first and foremost protest art–tools to process the Pandemic as a mass disabling event, and as an event where drawing closer–including to the scary parts, like wearing masks–is the way to feel safer, more intimate, and more protected. Only by being able to find ways of telling all of our stories, even stories like mine, of isolation, dreaming of a world where I can be as free as my loved ones even now posting vacation photos, rather than doing their part to protect their community and kin like me, will we develop the shared knowledge of tools to survive the Pandemic, and the Right Wing theocracy taking part in worsening it. Only by encouraging our families to talk about our stories will we ensure that we have learned what we need to–not allowed our tales of complexity to be rewritten as one-sided stories of happy martyrdom, for the benefit of those who sacrificed our health, mental health, future, or even lives.
Please, take part in the Mask Up project by commissioning your own Mask Up, or by signing up for my mailing list to be notified when patterns are published, allowing your family to take part in it.