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Facemasks: Drawings of COVID-19 Face Coverings

Facemask #4, Colonial Williamsburg, Rainbow Fabric

What do you think about when you see facemasks?

Facemasks have become emblematic of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the United States especially, these pieces of cloth convey a variety of messages to different viewers. Whether we regard them as sites of labor, self-expression, inhibitors of personal liberty, emblems of public health, or symbols of community, facemasks are charged with meaning.

Facemasks is a personal exhibit that meditates on the significance of masks in the era of COVID-19. On this site, you will encounter drawings of facemasks that I have done using pen and ink and watercolor. The gallery includes both the masks that I personally use, as well as examples solicited from social media. I created this exhibit because drawing enables me to process my thoughts and feelings about facemasks as complex signs in contemporary American culture. In terms of perspective, I am a white, cisgender woman living in Williamsburg, Virginia. I have not had COVID-19, but I acknowledge the importance of wearing masks in preventing its spread.  

As you look through these selections ask yourself: What do face masks mean to you?

This exhibit is curated by Sara Woodbury.

Introduction