Group project – Masks: The up and down journey of my group project

The day we had to pair up into groups for our first assessment ‘the creative presentation’ stumped me a bit because I couldn’t think of any ideas what we could do. We did toss around some ideas but then it was injected with a different concept that we liked then didn’t. It took us a while to figure out which way of presentation we wanted to do, either the creative project or creative research. We ended up deciding to do a creative project as Chanel said she doesn’t like using power point.

Some ideas we came up with are:

  • Finding an artist we both like and try and make work similar to theirs
  • Shadow puppets scenes
  • William Kentridge
  • Tim Burton (this has already been done before so we decided not to go with it)
  • Finally we came down to masks

We both love masks and Chanel and I were thinking of making them. Our idea was to find an artist we both liked who made masks and make them all. I thought that idea was a bit too extreme and too time consuming of making every single mask the artist has made. I thought of making a couple of masks, the ones that capture us the most. We thought it was a good idea at the time. We both did some research on masks until another individual came into our group, Deborah. Deborah didn’t mind our main focus on masks but she thought that making them would be rather too time consuming. We all went back to the drawing board and all decided to go back and chose the creative research topic on masks instead. We all went off and did individual research on masks either from the internet or books. We tried to make group meeting every week but something would always stop them happening, sometimes Chanel was away or the whole group was sick so we couldn’t meet up. The day Chanel was sick Deborah and I wrote a plan of different parts of the mask history we could look up and study individually so then we could all combine them together. We came up with general information:

  • History
  • Evil spirits
  • War
  • Rituals

Carnevale & masquerade:

  • History
  • Masks in Europe
  • Modern masks in film & fashion


  • Tying it all together
  • Changes in history
  • Rationality & modernity

We soon came to realise there is a wide range of information on masks and we will never fit everything in, in just 20 minutes of presentation.

(Jays, 2009)

After a while of trying to get group meetings together Chanel says she is dropping out of the unit so Deborah and I had to share Chanel’s side of the group work as well. This was getting trickier to maintain. We both carried our fair share and managed to put it altogether and found some very helpful books that helped us throughout our project. I am very passionate about masks and I have learned a lot more about it since this assessment and I am very grateful for that. I am hoping to become a mask maker for part of my future; I want to experience the talent of masks that they behold as I have always seen masks as being creative, they have a hidden meaning and there are different connotations to masks depending on the country, religion and rituals. “Rituals are mainly focused on rainmaking, healing, sterility in women, good health, to fight off spirits,
entering the spiritual world” (Mack, 1994, p. 203). Shamans are well known for their masked rituals as “they believe in spirits, sorcerers, gods and magical figures” (Nunley & McCarthy, 1999, p. 156) Traditional mask ceremonies were ‘celebrations’ of the stages of life people went through. Common ceremonies performed are based around birth and death, developing maturity, becoming an adult, practiced circumcision and weddings. These are only some of the many meanings of masks in history.


(ssimrok, 2010)

(ssimrok, 2010)

Even though the similar masks today don’t have the same meaning and are used for a form of playfulness there are an evolution of what masks are today. Masks can be seen as makeup, ‘social networking’ using a computer (technology is a mask becoming someone you are not. The masks connotation has changed in today’s society with new technology. I consider masks to have an importance even if it isn’t the same as in the past. I wonder if we could ever live without a mask or do we always have to have a sense of becoming someone else… someone better?

Jays, D. (2009, July 6). Death Doesn’t Lie. Retrieved from Obit:

Mack, J. (1994). Masks the art of expression. London: British Museum Press.

Nunley, J. W., & McCarthy, C. (1999). Masks Faces of Culture. New York: Harry N. Abrams

Ruggieri, L. (n.d.). Venetian carnevale mask III. Retrieved from Fineartamerica:

ssimrok. (2010, October 30). Make up transformation. Retrieved from Jaffa Mood:


~ by courtzbb on June 4, 2011.

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