For those of us living in Melbourne, Australia the second lock down in not many months is challenging. We thought we had permanently emerged from our home-caves and begun adjusting to a new normal, only to take a step back and return, once again, to relative isolation. While gleefully patting ourselves on the back for a job well done in June, by July we had let our guard down. With our tail between our legs, we’ve had to admit that we’re not quite as immune or good as we thought we were.
Meanwhile, a debate has proliferated online regarding whether or not to wear a face mask and, if a necessity, which mask should we wear? Australia’s chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly said people living in Melbourne who can’t remain socially distant when out and about for essential reasons ‘should wear a mask.’ So, why don’t we do it? We’ve worn masks for a multitude of purposes throughout history including to shield, camouflage, disguise and masquerade. Face coverings have transformative qualities and can affect the way we communicate and the way we feel. From a positive standpoint, masks can be creative, liberating and empowering.
When you wear the mask, the mask becomes you features work by Michael Camakaris, Nick Capaldo, Adrian Lazzaro, Julian Martin, Sammie-Jo Matta, Daniel Pace, Gavin Porter, Aidan Sefo, Cathy Staughton, Jimmy Tran and Terry Williams. It reflects on the transformative qualities wearing a mask can have on the wearer. We examine the use of face coverings from a functional as well as fanciful and speculative viewpoint.
Walk through our latest exhibition via entering a virtual room or scrolling the slideshow below or download the When you wear the mask, the mask becomes you catalogue here.
Produced by Arts Project Australia curator & gallery manager Sim Luttin.