Masks come in all forms. Some, like Halloween masks, conceal the entire face. A domino goes over the eyes. A surgical mask blocks the nose and mouth.
Regardless of what type of masks they are, they all do the same thing: they hide the face, all of it, or part of it. And hiding the face, any part of it, dehumanizes the wearer. It’s easy to think of people wearing masks as not quite human, because an essential component of our humanity is. our. face.
Some people, like politicians and pop celebrities, wear masks all the time, only these masks are not physical. The masks that famous faces wear hide the personality beneath, and we are shown only the image, the persona, that the wearer wants us to see. We can be easily fooled into thinking that the person they say they are on the outside represents who they are on the inside.
If we are not careful, as ordinary people we also can don masks — to our detriment and to that of those around us. Let’s say that, when we go out into public, we are the cheerful sunshine person with a dazzling smile and a word of encouragement for others. Then, when we return home, we think black thoughts about those people we said such nice things to, and wish them the worst. We’ve taken off our mask.
Or maybe we’re deep and dramatic and emotive — an artiste, with tempestuously spiritual overtones. Or intensely erudite and intellectual — the scientific sort. Or the nerd. The cheerleader. The sage. The yogi.
Whatever it is, we are a caricature of a person, a partial aspect, like just eyes with no nose or mouth (surgical mask), or mouth with no nose or eyes (domino), or somebody else’s face altogether (Halloween mask).
The artwork, Enchanted, celebrates one of the most beautiful elements in nature: the human face. Thanks to the celebrity culture, most of us are dissatisfied with our faces, but they are, we are, all beautiful.
Our mouths express joy, bewilderment, curiosity, sadness, thought, anger, fear, happiness. Our eyes dance, shutter, peer, glance, watch. Our noses — why, they’re all so incredibly different and unique, just like each one of us!
Eyebrows, eyelashes, cheeks, ears, chin, lips — every component of our faces is precious and beautiful, and worthy of being celebrated.
Let us, then, celebrate who we actually are. Without masks.
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All of the artwork in my blogs is by my husband, fine artist Steve Henderson. He creates work that celebrates joy and goodness, freedom and thinking. You can find his prints at SteveHendersonCollections.com or https://2-steve-henderson.pixels.com/.